Well, we knew fights on Capitol Hill were going to come and for Democrats—they’re first salvo will be against eight of President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees. Ed O’Keefe at The Washington Post reported that Senate Democrats are planning to target eight nominations, extending their confirmation votes into March. One reason that Democrats are picking these fights is over taxes. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wants all of the president-elect’s nominees to turn over their financial information. Yet, O’Keefe added that Senate Democrats have also opened themselves up to attacks of hypocrisy concerning their rather deferential treatment towards Barack Obama’s nominees at the outset of his presidency:
Democratic senators plan to aggressively target eight of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees in the coming weeks and are pushing to stretch their confirmation votes into March — an unprecedented break with Senate tradition.
Such delays would upend Republican hopes of quickly holding hearings and confirming most of Trump’s top picks on Inauguration Day. But Democrats, hamstrung by their minority status, are determined to slow-walk Trump’s picks unless they start disclosing reams of personal financial data they’ve withheld so far, according to senior aides.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that Democrats will home in especially on Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice for secretary of state; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), his pick for attorney general; Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget; and Betsy DeVos, selected to serve as education secretary.
Senate confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin next week, when the Judiciary Committee is set to hold two days of hearings with Sessions, and the Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a one-day, two-part hearing with Tillerson.
But Schumer has told McConnell that he wants at least two days of hearings for each of these eight nominees, including at least one panel made up of witnesses that can speak to the pick’s past record, aides said. At each hearing, members of the committee would get at least 10 minutes to ask questions, with no limits on multiple rounds of questioning, if requested.
It’s curious that they’d [Democrats] object to treating the incoming president’s nominees with the same courtesy and seriousness with which the Senate acted on President Obama’s nominees,” Antonia Ferrier, a McConnell spokeswoman, said in an email.
The publication noted that Democrats want no more than two cabinet nomination hearings per week, with each of these eight hearings to be held of separate weeks. O’Keefe added that the GOP has scoffed at the Democrats’ demands, noting that several of Obama’s nominees were confirmed on Inauguration Day.
With progressives still licking their wounds over Clinton’s loss, Democrats need to show their base that they’re doing something to make Trump’s presidency difficult. That side has whined about the Electoral College, racism, sexism, misogyny, voter ID laws, the FBI, and Russian hacking to blame for Clinton’s stunning defeat against the billionaire real estate magnate, who has already set out either creating of protecting jobs through deals with Carrier and SoftBank. Sprint has already said 5,000 jobs will be coming back to American shores as well. Some of this, of course, is outside the realm of Trump’s control, but it adds to the narrative that we’re going to have a better business climate, as consumer confidence and small business owners’ optimism have reached a fifteen and eight-year high respectively.
Democrats will undoubtedly say that more people voted for them in the senate races. Good on them; it means nothing. One-third of the Senate races are hardly a gauge for a national poll. As Guy mentioned, the House races is more reflective of the national mood, but Democrats can’t use that since a) they didn’t retake the House; and b) Republicans got three million more votes total than they did in those 435 contests. Republicans control Congress, 69/99 state legislatures, two-thirds of the governorships, and the presidency. They’re the dominant political force in the country. The Democrats are not, no matter how much Sen. Elizabeth Warren thinks otherwise. Her side lost. And thanks to Sen. Harry Reid nuking the filibuster rules for presidential appointments, Democrats are probably going to lose most, if not all, of these nomination fights over hearings, but at least they can go home and tell their constituents that they did something.