Dems seek more vetting for Trump nominees before hearings
“The United States Senate has a rich, bipartisan tradition of vetting nominees to the President’s Cabinet. We hope to continue that tradition with our colleagues in the Republican Majority because the American people are entitled to a fair and open consideration process for all executive nominations," said a joint statement Thursday by 16 Democrats who will be ranking members of Senate committees next year.
The Democrats' conditions for allowing a nominee to move forward include turning over financial disclosure forms, ethics agreements, passing an FBI background check and satisfying "reasonable requests for additional information," as well as giving lawmakers time to review the information. 
The New York Times reported this week that gathering financial information from Trump's Cabinet picks was going "arduously slow" even though the GOP wants to confirm many of the selections on the first day of the new administration. 
Democrats face an uphill battle to block Trump's picks, who will only need a simple majority to clear the upper chamber. Republicans will have a 52-seat majority next year, and red-state Democrats in tough 2018 reelection races could also break ranks.
But Democrats have pledged to put the nominees through the gantlet, including trying to change Senate rules next year to require them to hand over three years of tax returns. 
Democrats argue the change is important, in part, because Trump has refused to hand over the financial documents. 
Quartz reported earlier this month that Trump's Cabinet picks have more wealth than a third of American households combined. 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security Pence quotes MLK in pitch for Trump's immigration proposal MORE's (R-Ky.) office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the Democrats' demands. But a top aide tweeted on Thursday morning that President Obama got multiple nominees confirmed on the first day of his administration. 
Democratic Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell Brown2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Sen. Casey says he won't run for president in 2020 The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Day 27 of the shutdown | Cohen reportedly paid company to rig online polls, boost his own image | Atlantic publishes ‘Impeach Donald Trump’ cover story MORE (Ohio), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellGOP seeks health care reboot after 2018 losses Climate movement should focus on winning 2020 presidential election Senate poised to kick land bill fight to January MORE (Wash.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries GOP senators would support postponing State of the Union MORE (Md.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperIRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries Dems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing Last-minute deal extends program to protect chemical plants MORE (Del.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDebate builds over making Mueller report public BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president The Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress MORE (Calif.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump AG pick Barr grilled at hearing | Judge rules against census citizenship question | McConnell blocks second House bill to reopen government Ex-Sen. McCaskill joins NBC, MSNBC Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (Mo.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySen. Murray says Washington behavior reminds her of former preschool students Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (Wash.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida MORE (Fla.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Energy: Pentagon report warns of climate threats to bases | Court halts offshore oil testing permits | Greens challenge federal drilling work during shutdown Overnight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pentagon warns of threat to bases from climate change MORE (R.I.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenGOP reasserts NATO support after report on Trump’s wavering Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days MORE (N.H.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate Dems raise concerns about shutdown's impact on assistance to taxpayers Durbin signals he will run for reelection Coal supporter Manchin named top Dem on Senate Energy Committee MORE (Mich.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour Some Senate Dems see Ocasio-Cortez as weak spokeswoman for party MORE (Mont.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSchumer wants answers from Trump on eminent domain at border Senate in last-minute talks to find deal to avert shutdown  House-passed stopgap measure in Senate limbo MORE (N.M.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerGiuliani: Trump Tower Moscow talks went 'as far as October, November' 2016 Senate Dem: Trump immigration proposal a 'starting point' Washington fears new threat from 'deepfake' videos MORE (Va.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenCongress should elevate those trapped in the gap – support ELEVATE Act IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries IRS waiving penalty for some in first filing season under Trump's tax law MORE (Ore.), as well as Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE (I-Vt.), issued Thursday's joint statement. 
Cardin told Democratic members on the Foreign Relations Committee that he expected to receive ethics and financial disclosure documents from secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson this week.
He added that he and Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerThe Memo: Romney moves stir worries in Trump World Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel Former US special envoy to anti-ISIS coalition joins Stanford University as lecturer MORE (R-Tenn.) have "disagreements" about requiring Tillerson's tax returns, but that the State Department nominee initially indicated he would turn them over. 
"I have not yet received 3 years’ worth of the nominee’s tax returns, which I have formally requested the Presidential Transition Team make available for review," Cardin wrote in a letter to his colleagues.  
Without the tax returns and other information, he warned that it would be hard to schedule a confirmation hearing for Tillerson. 
"It is our responsibility to expedite the consideration of key cabinet nominees so that the new President can have key advisers in place as soon as possible," Cardin said. 
He noted he would support Corker's push for a hearing in the second week of January if he can get all "relevant information."

- Updated at 2:25 p.m.