Kicking off a week in which Republicans hope to win final confirmation for a series of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees, the Senate on Monday evening approved his choices for Treasury and VA secretaries, but Democrats showed no sign that they were ready to ease up on their delaying tactics that have frustrated both GOP Senators and the President.
The Senate first voted to approve Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury – the vote was 53 to 47, as one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), joined with all Republicans to vote in favor of the President’s Treasury pick.
Democrats had tried to crack GOP support for Mnuchin by raising a series of charges against him – labeling him the “Foreclosure King” for his banking work – but it went nowhere with Republicans in the Senate.
“Steven Mnuchin is the wrong man to serve as America’s Treasury Secretary,” fumed Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).
One interesting note about Mnuchin, like President Trump, Mnuchin has donated money in the past to Democrats – and even worked for a time for George Soros – but that did not create any troubles for him.
In this screenshot from the Federal Election Commission website, you can see that Mnuchin gave money to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama.
Also approved on Monday evening was David Shulkin for the job of VA Secretary; Shulkin currently works in the VA, as Under Secretary of Health.
Shulkin was a familiar face to lawmakers who have dealt with troubles at the VA in recent years, and so his nomination was not controversial – as the Senate approved him unanimously, on a rare nomination vote of 100-0
“Dr. Shulkin is an excellent nominee,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
After those votes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up action on six other Trump nominations, hoping to push some of them to approval this week.
Those nominees include:
+ Mick Mulvaney, Office of Management and Budget
+ Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator
+ Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary
+ Ben Carson, Housing and Urban Development
+ Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretary
+ Rick Perry, Energy Secretary
No schedule has been set for votes on those six nominees.