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Cabinet Votes Possible as Senate Hearings Continue

Committees will vote on 5 nominees on Tuesday

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators could potentially vote on more of President Donald Trump’s executive nominees Tuesday before leaving town for the rest of the week, though it’s not clear which of their nominations will come up on the floor.

The Senate adjourned Monday night without locking in votes for the next day, though GOP leaders have expressed interest in confirming the less divisive nominees as soon as possible. The Senate will not be in after Tuesday for the rest of the week due to the joint Republican retreat in Philadelphia.

“It seems like there are a few people [the Democrats] are shooting at and the rest of them are going to be confirmed in due course,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Monday. “But it would be nice if we could get some of the noncontroversial ones out of the way.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday that Democrats are simply asking for more time to vet nominees.

“A few extra days to examine and explore what they believe, to make sure that they don’t have conflicts of interest? Who wouldn’t be for that?” the New York Democrat asked. “Unless they don’t want the facts to come out. So we’re not stalling nominations. This isn’t sport. This is serious stuff.”

The Senate did vote 66-32 Monday to confirm Kansas GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo as the next CIA director. And the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted along party lines, 11-10, to approve former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be the next secretary of State.

Meanwhile, Senate committees will keep churning through nominees. Five Cabinet hopefuls will receive committee votes on Tuesday: Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development; Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general; former Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao for Transportation; Wilbur Ross for Commerce, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to be U.N. ambassador.

Confirmation votes for Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke to head the Interior Department, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Energy were originally scheduled for Tuesday as well. But those votes were postponed indefinitely, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources leadership said late Monday, without offering an explanation. 

Three of Trump’s nominees will also face committees for their confirmation hearings on Tuesday. Linda McMahon has her hearing to become the next small business administrator before the Small Business Committee. Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Price faces the Finance Committee for his hearing to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s two confirmation hearings on Tuesday will likely garner attention due to recent questions about him previously failing to pay payroll taxes for a household employee. The South Carolina Republican, who was nominated to lead the Office of Management and Budget, faces the Senate Budget and Homeland Security committees on Tuesday.

Jennifer Shutt and Elvina Nawaguna contributed to this report.

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