Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday evening that Democrats want a second hearing for President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE's nominee to lead the Education Department.
The Senate minority leader warned that the fight over Betsy DeVos could gum up the works for getting Trump's other nominees cleared through the Senate.
"We feel very strongly there ought to be another hearing, and this will affect how the rest of the nominees will go forward because we need time on them," he said. "I've never heard anything like this."
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is holding a confirmation hearing for DeVos on Tuesday evening. Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) said at the start of the meeting that each senator would have 5 minutes to question DeVos, who has drawn sharp criticism from Democratic lawmakers.
Schumer added Tuesday that DeVos hasn't filed all of her paperwork and signaled that Democrats tried to get Alexander to push back Tuesday's hearing, but he refused.
"The hearing only began at 5 p.m. today because my friend Lamar wouldn't switch the hearing to a different day, even though there's no rush," he added.
The HELP committee was previously scheduled to take up DeVos's nomination last week, but Alexander and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayConservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan Support the budget resolution to ensure a critical investment in child care Senate Democrats try to defuse GOP budget drama MORE (D-Wash.) announced they had postponed it at the request of leadership and because of a packed Senate schedule.
DeVos is one of eight nominees that are getting a hearing this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' MORE (R-Ky.) also said that the Senate could vote on some nominees after the inauguration on Friday.
Schumer on Tuesday accused Republicans of rushing Trump's nominees because "they're afraid what the public will hear."
"President-Elect Donald Trump said he's going to clean the swamp. What does he have? A rigged cabinet of billionaires, bankers, not the blue collar people he's appealed to."?
Democrats have repeatedly accused Trump of breaking his campaign promise to "drain the swamp." Schumer pointed to DeVos's hearing as "an indication that the swamp isn't close to being cleaned up."
Republicans have repeatedly noted that the then-Democratic controlled Senate confirmed seven nominees for President Obama on the same day as his 2009 inauguration.
Alexander praised DeVos at the start of Tuesday's hearing, saying she is "on our children’s side."