This week: Republicans aim to break jam on Trump nominees
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A fight over President Trump's nominees is poised to come to a head in the Senate as GOP leadership tries to break a logjam on the picks. 

Trump wrapped up his first week in office with only four nominees confirmed by senators, lagging behind the roughly seven President Obama got confirmed on his first day in 2009. 

Republicans are preparing to begin forcing votes on his remaining nominees. 

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Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Dem candidates sell policy as smart politics Overnight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for buying Iranian oil | At least four Americans killed in Sri Lanka attacks | Sanders pushes for Yemen veto override vote McConnell: 'Time to move on' from Trump impeachment talk MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters that lawmakers will "in a more fulsome way move into approving Cabinet appointments, both controversial and non-controversial." 

The Senate's top Republican moved last week to set up a vote on Rex Tillerson's nomination to lead the State Department amid fierce opposition from Democrats. 

Senators will take a procedural vote on Tillerson on Monday evening with a simple majority needed to move forward, setting up final passage for early this week. 

Democrats face an uphill battle to block any of Trump's Cabinet picks. 

Under a 2013 decision by then Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSanders courts GOP voters with 'Medicare for All' plan Glamorization of the filibuster must end Schumer won't rule out killing filibuster MORE (D-Nev.), they will need only 51 votes to clear the upper chamber and Republicans have a 52-seat majority. 

But they can use the Senate's procedural hurdles to drag out floor consideration on an individual nominee for days.

Democrats began coming out in earnest against Tillerson on Friday with both Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage MORE (D-N.Y.), the minority leader, and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAndrew Cuomo: Biden has best chance at 'main goal' of beating Trump Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds Buttigieg responds to accusation of pushing a 'hate hoax' about Pence MORE (I-Vt.) formally announcing their opposition. 

Tillerson as a "man who will not lift a finger to fight climate change and will not rule out a Muslim registry would make it even worse," Schumer said in a statement. 

But the former ExxonMobile CEO will get the support of at least one Democrat: Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinCain says he withdrew from Fed consideration because of 'pay cut' On The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed MORE (D-W.Va.). 

The red-state Democrat, who is up for reelection in 2018, became the first member of his party to back Tillerson, calling their long relationship and his experience leading a corporation as "crucial" to his support. 

Manchin is one of 10 Democrats running for reelection in a state carried by Trump, with most of the 2018 lawmakers remaining on the fence over Tillerson. 

The Senate will also take a vote on Elaine Chao to be Trump's Transportation secretary. She is expected to easily clear the upper chamber on Tuesday.

Chao is well-known among lawmakers in both parties. She previously served as President George W. Bush's Labor secretary and is married to McConnell. 

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take a vote Tuesday on Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump poised to roll back transgender health protections Trump claims Mueller didn't speak to those 'closest' to him And the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin MORE to be attorney general, after Democrats delayed the nomination last week. 

The move would pave the way for Session's nomination to head to the full Senate, where he's expected to ultimately be approved. 

The Senate Finance Committee will also vote on Trump's pick to head the Treasury Department, Steven Mnuchin, on Monday evening.

 

Undoing Obama regulations

Congress is moving to unwind a slew of Obama-era regulations, starting with votes in the House this week on five resolutions to disapprove of regulations issued during the previous administration.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can pass resolutions of disapproval to overturn regulations 60 legislative days after they go into effect.

Three of the Obama regulations on the chopping block this week were issued after the election, making them a prime target for Republicans particularly eager to do away with so-called “midnight” regulations finalized in the last two months of the former president’s term.

One of those rules was designed to limit coal mining pollution in streams, while another moved to add Social Security disability recipients considered unable to manage their affairs to the national instant criminal background check system for gun purchases.

The other rules set for axing include a Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring oil and gas companies to reveal payments made to foreign governments; an Interior Department rule to reduce methane pollution from oil and natural gas wells on federal land; and the Labor Department’s rule to require certain federal contractors to report recent labor law violations.   

The resolutions are expected to pass along party lines in the House. In the Senate, they can be approved with a simple majority and circumvent a Democratic filibuster.

"With President Trump's signature, every one of these regulations will be overturned," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week.

"In the weeks to come, the House and Senate will use the Congressional Review Act to repeal as many job-killing and ill-conceived regulations as possible," McCarthy wrote. "That's how to protect American workers and businesses, defend the Constitution, and turn words into action."

Lydia Wheeler contributed.