Senate Finance Committee Advances Price Nomination As Head Of HHS

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Delaware Senator Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, had requested Wednesday's vote on Pruitt be postponed, citing a lack of thorough answers from the nominee.

The nomination of Jess Sessions as attorney general was approved in a full justice committee vote along party lines on Wednesday. All the nominations will need full Senate approval. Chairman Orrin Hatch said Tuesday he was furious at Democrats, and vowed to push the nominations forward. "I'd like to take the opportunity to set the record straight", said Franken. Three other members of Trump's cabinet have been confirmed thus far: Elaine Chao was approved as Transportation secretary on Tuesday, John Kelly has been appointed at the Department of Homeland Security and Gen. James Mattis is now installed at the Pentagon. The mostly party-line 56-43 vote came with Democrats critical of Tillerson's close ties to Russian Federation as former Exxon Mobil CEO.

He "is the intellectual godfather of the president's policies", she said.

The show of brute political muscle by Republicans came as the two parties have battled virtually nonstop since Trump entered the White House 12 days ago over his refugee ban, his firing of the acting attorney general and GOP plans to erase former President Barack Obama's health care law. Democrats were already furious over Republicans' refusal to even consider past year President Barack Obama's pick for the slot, Judge Merrick Garland.

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These nominations were cleared through committee without a single Democrat present, and that action is tantamount to transforming the U.S. Congress to a parliamentary system.

Under finance committee rules, the panel needs a quorum, including at least one member of the minority party, to conduct business.

In a press conference the boycotting senators said they want more insight into Price's financial background, namely his investments in medical companies, after several reports raised questions about his dealings.

The Finance Committee's top Democrat, Ron Wyden of OR, said he'd oppose Price and Mnuchin. Hatch also said the Mnuchin controversy is moot because there is "no fixed definition" of robo-signing. The two men have denied wrongdoing and have solid Republican backing. Harry Reid famously decided in 2013 to invoke the "nuclear option", using a simple majority vote to change Senate rules to remove the filibuster option from executive nominees and federal judges for courts below the Supreme Court.

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