Hearing derailed after senator suggests colleague needs Valium

Steven Mnuchin’s confirmation hearing quickly went off the rails Thursday as Democrats and Republicans feuded over a GOP lawmaker's quip about giving antidepressants to the panel’s top Democrat.

Mnuchin, President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE’s pick to head the Treasury Department, had yet to give his opening statement before the Senate Finance Committee when an offhand remark by Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsEleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Pressure builds on Pompeo as impeachment inquiry charges ahead GOP lawmakers fear Trump becoming too consumed by impeachment fight MORE (R-Kan.) riled up committee members.

Roberts, who was permitted to ask a handful of questions before jumping to another hearing, jabbed at Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul Top GOP senator: Drug pricing action unlikely before end of year Senate aides met with tax return whistleblower: report MORE (D-Ore.) after he gave a lengthy critique of Mnuchin’s experience.

“Sen. Wyden, I’ve got a Valium pill here that you might want to take for a second round,” he joked.

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The crack did not go over well with Democrats. Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Commerce extends Huawei waiver | Senate Dems unveil privacy bill priorities | House funding measure extends surveillance program | Trump to tour Apple factory | GOP bill would restrict US data going to China Senate Democrats unveil priorities for federal privacy bill On The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell MORE (D-Ohio) pounced on the remarks, calling it an inauspicious start to the committee’s work for the year. And Wyden accused Roberts of wasting precious time.

“I just can’t quite believe that the senator would say that,” said Brown. “I just hope that doesn’t set the tone for 2017.”

Members of both parties quickly began talking over each other, with Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah) struggling to regain control.

Roberts said the comment amounted to a “little pinprick of humor,” and apologized “if I have, you know, uh, encouraged your wrath, sir.”

Wyden again complained that Roberts was taking up valuable committee time with his comments. And in turn, Roberts expressed his own wrath.

“Fine, Ron! I’m done!” he said angrily as he wrapped up his remarks.