U.S. Senate committee has voted to send to the full Senate the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted on Pruitt’s nomination one day later than scheduled because of a boycott Wednesday by the committee’s Democrats. But Republicans temporarily suspended several rules Thursday to approve Pruitt’s nomination.
Members of the Senate Finance Committee did the same Tuesday and Wednesday to forestall votes on Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary nominee, and Tom Price, nominee for health and human services secretary.
Senate rules require at least one minority member be present for committee votes to proceed. A visibly frustrated Finance Committee chairman, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, led a successful effort to change the rules governing the panel, and Mnuchin and Price were swiftly approved with Republican-only votes.
“The only chaos we have in the Senate is because of Senate Democrats,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican. “It is time [for Democrats] to get over the fact that they lost the election. The president is entitled to have his Cabinet appointments considered.”
Democrats insisted extra time to consider Trump’s nominees was needed.
“The proposed Trump domestic Cabinet is an unprecedented swamp of conflicts of interest, failures of disclosure, and dark money secrets,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. “None of this is good.”
Shortened tempers and frayed nerves have been evident in a body that prides itself on decorum and lofty debate. Hatch said Democrats were acting “like idiots,” while Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, blasted Democratic delay tactics as “a hissy fit.”
Congressman Mick Mulvaney moved closer Thursday to confirmation as White House Budget Director. In seperate votes, the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee approved the Republican lawmaker’s nomination by votes along party lines. Mulvaney’s nomination now goes to the full Senate.