Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick

Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick
© Greg Nash
 
The Senate is moving forward with Wilbur Ross's nomination to lead the Commerce Department.
 
The chamber on Friday voted 66-31 in favor of cloture on Ross, setting up a confirmation vote later this month. Sixteen Democrats joined with all Republicans present in backing Ross, who needed a simple 51-vote majority to overcome Friday's procedural hurdle. 
 
Senators aren't expected to be able to finish his nomination before leaving town for the week-long President's Day recess. 
 
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McConnell tried to get a deal for a final vote on his nomination for Friday, but Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySanders: Trump couldn't be 'more wrong' on climate Overnight Energy: Trump orders review of national monuments, claiming ‘egregious abuse’ Overnight Regulation: Lawmakers look to delay labor board ruling MORE (D-Ore.) objected.
 
With Democrats able to drag out an extra 30 hours of debate, a final vote is expected as early as the evening Feb. 27.
 
Democrats raised fresh concerns about Ross’s nomination this week, questioning whether he has ties to Russia.
 
In a letter obtained by McClatchy, Dems questioned Ross's relationship with Viktor Vekselberg, a shareholder at a bank where Ross still sits on the board. 
 
Vekselberg is friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was formally one of the directors of the Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft.
 
The Democrats who voted in favor of Ross were Sens. Michael BennetMichael BennetTrump's FDA nominee clears key Senate committee Dems knock Trump on Earth Day Dem pushed plan for both sides to admit to abusing Senate rules: report MORE (Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampOvernight Regulation: Senators call for 'cost-effective' regs | FCC chief unveils plans to roll back net neutrality Senators push 'cost-effective' reg reform Battle begins over Wall Street rules MORE (N.D.), Tim KaineTim KaineOvernight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Kaine, Schiff press Trump on legal justification for Syria strike Democrats thought they could produce a political earthquake in Kansas MORE (Va.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonLawmakers stare down challenge of cyber-enabled ‘fake news’ United explains passenger removal to senators Overnight Cybersecurity: Ex-officials warn 'Buy American' might harm Pentagon cybersecurity | Chair nudges Trump on cyber order | House gets security training MORE (Fla.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDem senator fears Russian election interference could be ‘normalized’ Russian interference looms over European elections Restore funding to United Nations Population Fund MORE (N.H.), Jon TesterJon TesterBattle begins over Wall Street rules Dems hunt for a win in Montana special election Tester raises M for reelection MORE (Montana), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDem labels infrastructure ‘top thing’ Trump can accomplish Wyden pushing to mandate 'basic cybersecurity' for Senate Senators press the FCC on rural broadband affordability MORE (Minn.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsA Vandenberg movement in Congress Senate approves Trump's Agriculture chief How Gorsuch's confirmation shapes the next Supreme Court battle MORE (Del.), Tom CarperTom CarperDems probe claims of religious bias in DHS 'trusted traveler' program Senate Dems want Trump to release ethics waivers, visitor logs Medicare’s coverage decisions need more input from physicians MORE (Del.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: DNC hackers also targeted French presidential candidate | Ex-acting AG Yates to testify at Senate Russia hearing Schumer: Senate Russia probe moving too slowly Senate Intel Dem has ‘serious concerns’ on Russia probe MORE (Va.), Angus KingAngus KingSenator: No signs of GOP 'slow-walking' Russia investigation Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Conway: Dems should listen to their constituents on tax reform MORE (I-Maine) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinComey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee House cyber chairman wants to bolster workforce Trump, lower court nominees need American Bar Association review MORE (Calif.).