Tillerson advances, other Trump nominees considered January 31

Agence France-Presse
With just 3 of Trump's cabinet members in place so far, Republicans have sought to speed confirmation of Trump's other nominees

Former ExxonMobil executive Rex Tillerson testifies during his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 11, 2017. Saul Loeb/AFP

WASHINGTON DC, USA – The US Senate on Monday, January 30, advanced the nomination of Rex Tillerson to be President Donald Trump’s secretary of state, setting up a final confirmation vote for later this week.

Several other Trump cabinet picks are scheduled to receive votes in Senate panels Tuesday, January 31. If they pass favorably out of committee, as expected along party lines, they head to confirmation votes by the full Senate.

The nomination of Tillerson, the former chief executive of ExxonMobil who has never served in government, advanced by a vote of 56 to 43, with 4 Democrats joining all 52 Republicans in support.

“He has the type of international work experience that will serve him well as the next secretary of state,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.

Trump has pressed hard to get his cabinet in place as he begins the complex task of governing. 

The White House has accused Senate Democrats of obstruction, and the new president lashed out at the opposition party late Monday, writing on Twitter that Democrats were “delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons.” 

“They have nothing going but to obstruct,” Trump said.

The Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, fueled by Trump’s recent actions including his controversial executive order on immigration, has announced his opposition to most of Trump’s cabinet picks, including Tillerson and attorney general nominee Senator Jeff Sessions. 

“In his first week in office the president has stomped over our proud American tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees, trafficked in alternative facts, and is attempting to fill his cabinet with billionaires and bankers,” Schumer said.

Republicans hold 52 seats in the 100-seat Senate. A simple majority is required for confirmation of cabinet positions, so any Democratic effort to derail a nominee would need Republican help.

With just 3 of Trump’s cabinet members in place so far – Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and CIA chief Mike Pompeo, plus cabinet-rank US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley – Republicans have sought to speed confirmation of Trump’s other nominees.

The Senate will hold a flurry of votes Tuesday, including a confirmation vote for Elaine Chao as secretary of transportation.

Sessions will get his vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, after Democrats on the panel delayed the vote by a week. 

Also receiving votes Tuesday before relevant Senate panels are nominees for energy secretary Rick Perry, interior secretary Ryan Zinke, secretary of education Betsy DeVos, Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, and health secretary Tom Price.

But Democrats, livid about what they call Trump’s unconstitutional immigration action, were seeking to put up barriers to confirmation in order to debate the executive order, which bars US entry for travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries for 90 days, and suspends all refugee arrivals for 120 days.

“We can take a pause in confirmation votes to try to get this executive order right,” Senator Chris Murphy said, according to the Washington Post.

Tillerson’s confirmation vote is expected Wednesday, February 1. – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.