The Latest: Sessions urges senators to 'get along better'

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Posted: Feb 08, 2017 8:37 PM
The Latest: Sessions urges senators to 'get along better'

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominations (all times EST):

8:25 p.m.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, the nation's next attorney general, says he hopes the intensity of Senate debate will die down and "maybe somehow we get along better."

Sessions spoke to his colleagues after a bruising confirmation battle. He was confirmed Wednesday by a vote of 52-47.

Sessions is also thanking President Donald Trump for nominating him. He says Trump believes in the rule of law and in protecting the American people from crime and violence.

Sessions is urging senators to "agree on what we can agree on" but not to denigrate people who disagree, saying it's not a healthy trend.

He says his resignation as U.S. senator is effective at 11:55 p.m.

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7:50 p.m.

The nomination of Rep. Tom Price to be health secretary in the Trump administration has cleared a major hurdle.

The Senate voted 51-48 on Wednesday to short-circuit Democratic delaying tactics against the Georgia Republican.

Final approval of Price seems certain. It would elevate the long-time proponent of dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law and reshaping and curbing Medicare and Medicaid to the forefront of this year's GOP effort.

A final vote on Price, a wealthy former orthopedic surgeon, could come late Thursday.

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7 p.m.

The Senate has confirmed Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general in the Trump administration.

The 52-47 vote broke largely along party lines and capped weeks of divisive battles over Sessions, an early supporter of Donald Trump and one of the Senate's most conservative Republicans.

Democrats laced into Sessions over his ties to Trump and his record on civil rights and immigration. Republicans lauded his four decades in public service and his commitment to fairness and the rule of law.

The nomination drew wide attention after an imbroglio in which Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren earned a rare rebuke for quoting Coretta Scott King, widow of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., criticizing Sessions in 1986.

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5:20 p.m.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate's lone African-American Republican, has mounted a remarkably personal defense of Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump's embattled choice to lead the justice Department.

Scott, a conservative, said he has received racist messages since announcing his support for Sessions. He read messages in which he was called an "Uncle Tom" and said, "I just wish that my friends who call themselves liberals would want tolerance for all Americans."

He noted his personal experiences in introducing Sessions to his African-American constituents. And he read the statements of black Alabama Democrats vouching for Sessions. He said, "Jeff Sessions has earned my support and I will hold him accountable if and when we disagree."

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11:40 a.m.

Tom Price, President Donald Trump's pick for health secretary, has amended his government ethics agreement as the Senate prepares to debate and vote on his confirmation.

In the amended agreement released Wednesday, Price says he has transferred ownership interest in a business to his wife. A Senate aide says the company — Chattahoochee Associates LP — is involved with medical buildings. Price had previously said he would resign as managing partner but maintain a financial interest.

Price also reaffirmed that he will sell his stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian company trying to develop a drug for multiple sclerosis. Democrats have criticized his purchase of the company's stock at a discount. In the new agreement, Price corrected a previous reporting error that undervalued his stake.

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11:30 a.m.

The Republican-led Senate is working nonstop toward a confirmation vote on Sen. Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general. Sessions has faced a firestorm of Democratic criticism over his record on civil rights and other issues.

Democrats contend Sessions is too close to Trump, too harsh on immigrants, and weak on civil rights. They asserted he wouldn't do enough to protect voting rights of minorities, protections for gay people, the right of women to procure abortions, and immigrants in the country illegally to receive due process.

Still, the Alabama Republican was expected to prevail on a near party-line vote Wednesday evening.