Senate GOP threatens weekend work to confirm Cabinet nominees

Senate GOP threatens weekend work to confirm Cabinet nominees
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Senate Republican leaders plan to confirm four of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees next week and are threatening to work through next weekend to overcome Democratic delaying tactics.

Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynZuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan MORE (Texas) on Friday said the plan is to confirm Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos on Tuesday and then vote on Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDemocrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Democrats bicker over strategy on impeachment MORE (R-Ala.), Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Steven Mnuchin — Trump’s picks to head the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services and Treasury, respectively.

Cornyn said the Senate will stay in session through the weekend if necessary to process the nominations.

GOP leaders say they want to get all four confirmed by Feb. 13 to make up for a frustrating week in which Democrats delayed Sessions by filibustering him in the Senate Judiciary Committee and delayed Price and Mnuchin by boycotting a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

“Under regular order, we wouldn’t be through until Sunday, but the expectation is that [Democrats] realize what the outcome will be and they don’t want to stay in session over the weekend,” Cornyn said.

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He said he hopes Democrats will decide to yield back procedural time instead of working Saturday and Sunday.

A Senate GOP aide said to "expect long nights" next week as Republicans run time off the procedural clock as quickly as possible to confirm the nominees.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes On The Money: House votes to avert shutdown, fund government through November | Judge blocks California law requiring Trump tax returns | Senate panel approves three spending bills MORE (R-Ky.) filed cloture on Sessions, Price and Mnuchin on Thursday, setting up votes on them as soon as DeVos wins confirmation.

The Senate voted early Friday to shut down a Democratic filibuster of DeVos on a 52-48 party-line vote.

Republican leaders have scheduled the final vote on her confirmation for Tuesday instead of Monday evening to make sure they will have every member of their conference present.

Two Republicans, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw McConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh MORE (Alaska), will oppose DeVos, leaving McConnell and Cornyn with no room for error.

“We want to make sure we have full attendance,” Cornyn said.

He said Senate Republicans will again employ a “dual-track” strategy that will allow them to vote to repeal Obama-era regulations under the Congressional Review Act while working on the nominees.

The Senate voted 52-47 Friday morning to repeal a rule implemented as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requiring energy companies to report payments to foreign governments.

The chamber on Thursday voted 54-45 to eliminate the so-called Stream Protection Rule, which requires mining companies to keep waste from mountain-top removal operations from polluting streams and rivers.

Senators will move next week to repeal any of several regulations.

A senior GOP aide said candidates for action include the methane waste rule, which requires oil and gas companies to cut down on methane emissions on federal and tribal lands; a rule requiring federal contractors to disclose labor law violations; and a regulation giving the Social Security Administration expanded authority to review firearms purchases by disabled Americans.