Senate GOP threatens weekend work to confirm Cabinet nominees

Senate GOP threatens weekend work to confirm Cabinet nominees
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Senate Republican leaders plan to confirm four of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees next week and are threatening to work through next weekend to overcome Democratic delaying tactics.

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' McConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Texas) on Friday said the plan is to confirm Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos on Tuesday and then vote on Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsHouse panel refers Clinton server company for prosecution Sessions to keep up fight on sanctuary cities despite legal setback Suspended Alabama judge running for Senate MORE (R-Ala.), Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Steven Mnuchin — Trump’s picks to head the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services and Treasury, respectively.

Cornyn said the Senate will stay in session through the weekend if necessary to process the nominations.

GOP leaders say they want to get all four confirmed by Feb. 13 to make up for a frustrating week in which Democrats delayed Sessions by filibustering him in the Senate Judiciary Committee and delayed Price and Mnuchin by boycotting a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

“Under regular order, we wouldn’t be through until Sunday, but the expectation is that [Democrats] realize what the outcome will be and they don’t want to stay in session over the weekend,” Cornyn said.

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He said he hopes Democrats will decide to yield back procedural time instead of working Saturday and Sunday.

A Senate GOP aide said to "expect long nights" next week as Republicans run time off the procedural clock as quickly as possible to confirm the nominees.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSchumer blocks one-week stopgap funding bill Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline Hundreds of former EPA employees blast Trump on climate change MORE (R-Ky.) filed cloture on Sessions, Price and Mnuchin on Thursday, setting up votes on them as soon as DeVos wins confirmation.

The Senate voted early Friday to shut down a Democratic filibuster of DeVos on a 52-48 party-line vote.

Republican leaders have scheduled the final vote on her confirmation for Tuesday instead of Monday evening to make sure they will have every member of their conference present.

Two Republicans, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsOvernight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Schumer: Senate Russia probe moving too slowly Collins: I'm not working with Freedom Caucus chairman on healthcare MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiTrump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Alaska senators push bill to allow Arctic drilling MORE (Alaska), will oppose DeVos, leaving McConnell and Cornyn with no room for error.

“We want to make sure we have full attendance,” Cornyn said.

He said Senate Republicans will again employ a “dual-track” strategy that will allow them to vote to repeal Obama-era regulations under the Congressional Review Act while working on the nominees.

The Senate voted 52-47 Friday morning to repeal a rule implemented as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requiring energy companies to report payments to foreign governments.

The chamber on Thursday voted 54-45 to eliminate the so-called Stream Protection Rule, which requires mining companies to keep waste from mountain-top removal operations from polluting streams and rivers.

Senators will move next week to repeal any of several regulations.

A senior GOP aide said candidates for action include the methane waste rule, which requires oil and gas companies to cut down on methane emissions on federal and tribal lands; a rule requiring federal contractors to disclose labor law violations; and a regulation giving the Social Security Administration expanded authority to review firearms purchases by disabled Americans.