Clinton’s Nomination Tripped Up, but Still Headed for Approval

Posted January 20, 2009 at 11:14am

Unmoved by Secretary of State appointee Hillary Rodham Clinton’s pledge to be transparent with her finances and relationship with the Clinton Foundation, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has placed a hold on the New York Senator’s nomination.

“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to have a full and open debate and an up-or-down vote on Senator Clinton’s nomination,” Cornyn said in a statement Tuesday. “Important questions remain unanswered concerning the Clinton Foundation and its acceptance of donations from foreign entities. Transparency transcends partisan politics and the American people deserve to know more.”

Cornyn sent Clinton a letter last week requesting that the foundation, led by former President Bill Clinton, adopt stricter disclosure rules for foreign donations.

Similar concerns were aired — albeit lightly — during Clinton’s confirmation hearing last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. However, the panel overwhelmingly approved the nomination 16-1, with just Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) voting against.

While Cornyn’s hold isn’t likely to prevent Clinton’s Senate confirmation, it will postpone it and forces the full Senate to cast a roll-call vote on the nomination. That vote could occur Wednesday, according to Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.).

“We should be able to do it tomorrow,” Kerry said Tuesday, adding that he expected Clinton to be approved “overwhelmingly.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reached out to colleagues last week requesting approval of 13 Cabinet nominees under unanimous consent, including the nominees to lead the Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Labor and Interior departments. Clinton was originally included in that bloc.

Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle, the former Senate Majority Leader, still has to appear before the Senate Finance Committee, which will also hear testimony from Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner on Wednesday.

Emily Pierce contributed to this report.