Top Dem: Don’t bring Tillerson floor vote if he doesn’t pass committee

Greg Nash
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is warning Senate Republicans against giving President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of State a floor vote if he does not pass a committee vote.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has floated the prospect of moving Rex Tillerson’s nomination to the Senate floor even if he falls short in the committee’s vote next week. 
Cardin, the top Democrat on the committee, on Wednesday told The Hill that Corker should pump the breaks on such a move.
{mosads}“I think the vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is extremely important,” he said. 
“It represents a committee that listened to Mr. Tillerson, who has the Senate expertise on the jurisdiction that Mr. Tillerson will be responsible for. I think the vote will be consequential.”
An aide added that Cardin would be very concerned if Corker helped to send Tillerson to the floor if he failed in the committee. 
Minutes before Cardin’s answer, Corker reiterated he sees a possible path for Tillerson if he fails in the committee on Monday.
“There are multiple ways of getting someone to the floor. I’m confident that Rex Tillerson will receive a vote on the floor and I’m confident he’s going to be confirmed,” Corker told reporters. 
“We’ll know what route that will be on Monday afternoon when we have the markup. At this point, there may be something I’m unaware of, but I’m confident he will be our next secretary of state.” 
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is on the committee, has remained mum on whether he’ll back Tillerson. Republicans have a 11-10 advantage on the committee, so just one GOP vote against Tillerson could mean a failing vote  
Tillerson faced a tough nomination hearing last week where Rubio in particular pressed him on his relationship with Russia and his work for Exxon Mobil.
Nominees typically move through the Senate first through a majority vote in committee before being confirmed by a vote on the Senate floor. However, there are arcane rules that could allow a nominee to reach the floor even if he or she fails to pass through the committee. 
Corker has not elaborated on how he would overcome a “no” vote in the committee, but a similar tactic was used before by the committee in 1983 for President Ronald Reagan’s pick for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
When it became clear the nominee couldn’t win a majority vote, the committee put him forward with a vote that moved his nomination to the full Senate but recommended that the Senate vote him down. That vote passed the committee, but the Senate chose to confirm him anyway. 
Tags Ben Cardin Bob Corker Donald Trump Marco Rubio

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