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Jordan Candler / Feb. 1, 2017

GOP to Dems: Enough Obstruction

The GOP takes action to end Democrats’ stall tactics on nominees.

On Wednesday, Democrat obstructionists in the Senate started right where they left off on Tuesday, when they boycotted nominees Tom Price and Steven Mnuchin, leaving them in limbo. They tried the same stunt again today, only this time they snubbed EPA nominee Scott Pruitt too. They even used the same excuses by claiming to be stuck in an ethical quandary. Sen. Tom Carper stated, “If Scott Pruitt is serious about serving as our next EPA Administrator, he should be more than willing to provide [Democrats] complete answers.” Nice try, but this faux reasoning has nothing to do with the boycotts. As we’ve stated, these shenanigans are ultimately about derailing the GOP’s momentum.

Therefore, Republicans were left with little choice but to take action. According to The Hill, “The Senate Finance Committee advanced a pair of Trump’s nominees with only Republican members present — Steven Mnuchin to head the Treasury Department, and Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as secretary of Health and Human Services. By unanimous consent, the Republicans gathered in the hearing room agreed to change the committee’s standing rules, which normally require at least one member of each party to be in attendance for committee work to proceed.” It only stands to reason that other committees, like the one tasked with approving Pruitt, will be forced to do the same thing.

Meanwhile, there was additional progress elsewhere. Despite Democrats’ best efforts to sabotage and delay his vote, The Hill also reports that “[a] Senate committee voted to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general on Wednesday, two days after the growing controversy surrounding President Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim nations led to the firing of an acting attorney general for insubordination. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sessions 11-9 along party lines. His nomination now goes to the floor, where he is widely expected to be confirmed given the GOP’s 52-seat majority.” Imagine that — a group of Democrats that decided boycotting wasn’t the answer.

> Update: As predicted, a committee on Thursday greenlighted Scott Pruitt, but without any help from Democrats. Via The Wall Street Journal: “Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, suspended a rule of that panel that requires at least two members of the minority party be present to conduct business. The maneuver allowed Republicans to advance EPA nominee Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to the full Senate with no Democrats present by a vote of 11-0.”

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