Senate to vote on Trump national security cabinet picks on Friday

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2017 12:56 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate is due to vote on Friday on the two retired Marine generals who are President-elect Donald Trump's nominees to be Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said on Thursday.

Both retired General James Mattis, Trump's pick to lead the Pentagon, and retired General John Kelly, his choice for Homeland Security, are expected to be confirmed easily.

The Senate will begin debate on a third prospective member of Trump's national security team, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, the Republican's selection to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Schumer said.

But he did not guarantee that there would be a vote on Pompeo on Friday.

Senate Republicans had hoped to confirm as many as seven of Trump's cabinet nominees in the hours after he is inaugurated as president on Friday.

However, Democrats balked at what they described as a push by Republicans, who hold a 52-seat majority in the 100-seat Senate, to jam through nominations before Trump's selections had filed all of their financial and ethics paperwork or answered every question submitted during the confirmation process.

Republicans accuse Democrats of playing politics.

Schumer said the Senate might also confirm a few of Trump's other "noncontroversial" nominees on Friday.

"Over the last few weeks, Republicans have made a mockery of the confirmation process," Schumer said.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool)