Democratic senators dramatically raised the stakes on the looming confrontation with the Trump cabal currently squatting in the White House, opting to boycott a Finance Committee hearing at which two controversial nominees were to be voted on.
Senate Democrats deployed a dramatic eleventh-hour maneuver to deny committee votes to two of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks Tuesday, arguing that those nominees had lied to them.
Senators on the Finance Committee were set to vote on Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury Department. But on Tuesday morning, they simply didn’t show up for the votes, denying Republicans the quorum they needed to move forward to confirmation. At least one Democrat needs to be present for the vote to happen.
Explaining the boycott, Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said that the two nominees “misled the public and held back important information about their backgrounds.”
“Until questions are answered, Democrats believe the committee should not move forward with either nomination. … This is about getting answers to questions, plain and simple. Ethics laws are not optional, and nominees do not have a right to treat disclosure like a shell game,” he added.
Good stuff. Republicans, of course, were predictably outraged and appalled. Oh, the horror. Here’s Orrin Hatch playing the role of the damsel in distress.
“This is one of the most alarming things I’ve seen in my 40 years in the U.S. Senate,” Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in the hearing Tuesday. “There isn’t a fellow on the other side I do not care for. Normally they’re very honorable and decent people. That’s why it’s so shocking to me that they’re not here when we’ve given them every opportunity to be here. … That’s not only ridiculous, it’s offensive.”
“I think they ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots,” he added. “Stop holding news conferences and come here and express yourself here and vote one way or the other.”
In other words, “stop doing what we did for eight years, because it might actually work just as well for you as it did for us. Stop it right now, you scoundrels!”
More of this, please. Pass the popcorn.