Senate Democrats have little to no options when it comes to blocking President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees, thanks to Harry Reid nuking the filibuster rules on presidential appointments, but they can create a lot of noise in the hopes of putting pressure on Republicans. Okay—it’s not really going to do that, as the GOP is set to confirm all of Trump’s nominees, even the ones Senate Democrats can’t stand like Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions for education secretary and attorney general respectively. But they have to look as if they’re doing something to fight Trump.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) decided to comment on Trump’s cabinet, calling it one that is literally constituted from the swamp. It’s a reference to the president-elect’s promise to clean up D.C. if he were elected—to drain the swamp. Schumer also voiced his concern at the lack of transparency with the nominees, the number of them who didn’t submit their ethics papers, and the number of hearings scheduled (via the Hill):
"This is a swamp cabinet full of bankers and billionaires,” Schumer told reporters at his weekly press conference.
The Senate minority leader also criticized Republicans for scheduling so many hearings — some of them even as nominees failed to hand in paperwork to the Office of Government Ethics.
Schumer specifically pointed to Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick to lead the Department of Education, noting lawmakers did not have all of her paperwork before Tuesday's hearing.
“The last two weeks have not been good for open and transparent government,” he said.
Democrats want another hearing for DeVos, and Schumer warned on Wednesday that if Democrats feel like Republicans are rushing nominees they will force “extensive debate” on the floor.
The threat could slow down Republicans' efforts to get nominees confirmed.
Note how an extended debate can only slow efforts down, it can’t stop them.