Senate Democrats on Tuesday refused to attend a committee vote on two of President Trump’s more controversial nominees, effectively delaying their consideration.
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes to advance Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Steven Mnuchin, his selection to head the Treasury Department. The pair had been among some of the more contentious selections to join Trump’s Cabinet.
Republicans expressed outrage at the move, while Democrats gathered outside the Senate Finance Committee hearing room to outline their gripes with the selections.
“I can’t understand why senators, who know we’re going to have these two people go through, can’t support the committee,” said Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears MORE (R-Utah).
“I’m very disappointed in this kind of crap. … Some of this is because they just don’t like the president.”
“This is the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in my whole time in the United States Senate,” he added.
"I think they ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots."
Hatch told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that he hopes to try to hold a committee vote again on Wednesday.
"If I can; I'd sure like to," he said.
Asked what could change by then that could get Democrats to drop their boycott, Hatch said, "Well I'm not going to get into that."
Democrats walked out of the Senate Finance Committee hearing room Tuesday morning, arguing that Mnuchin and Price misled senators in their testimony before the panel, and saying they could not allow a vote to proceed without more information.
"He misled Congress and he misled the American people," Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenators turn up the heat on Amazon, data brokers during hearing Minimum tax proposal drives wedge between corporate interests Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill MORE (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the panel, said of Price.
Democrats said they wanted to bring Price and Mnuchin in for further questions, saying some of their statements did not line up with the facts.
"We have great concern that Chairman Hatch is asking us to vote today on two nominees who out and out lied to our committee," said Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBiden's pick for bank watchdog pulls out after GOP accusations of communism Senate race in Ohio poses crucial test for Democrats Powell says Fed will consider faster taper amid surging inflation MORE (D-Ohio).
Updated 2:58 p.m.