Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is taking over his position from former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), has warned Republican that they cannot expect an easy time for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet choices. Republicans can count on delaying tactics while Democrats “aggressively target" eight nominees. "President-elect Trump is attempting to fill his rigged cabinet with nominees that would break key campaign promises and have made billions off the industries they’d be tasked with regulating," said Schumer in a statement today, as reported by the Washington Post.
"Any attempt by Republicans to have a series of rushed, truncated hearings before Inauguration Day and before the Congress and public have adequate information on all of them is something Democrats will vehemently resist," Schumer said. "If Republicans think they can quickly jam through a whole slate of nominees without a fair hearing process, they're sorely mistaken."
Trump’s nominees who are targeted in Democrats' crosshairs are:
Secretary of State nominee and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson;
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Trump's pick for attorney general;
Betsy DeVos, nominated for Education secretary;
Hardee’s CEO and Labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder;
Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner;
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, nominated to head the Environmental Protection Agency;
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services;
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), nominated for the Office of Management and Budget.
Betsy DeVos, nominated for Secretary of Education.
Tillerson and Sessions are expected to face Congress next week.
Among the environmentalist groups that have vowed to fight Tillerson’s nomination are NextGen Climate, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth. “Just when we thought Trump’s cabinet could not get farther away from the needs of the American people, he sneaks in a Saturday appointment of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State," Greenpeace spokesperson Cassady Craighill stated. Craighill added, "In this position, Tillerson will try his hardest to silence global initiatives and the right of state attorney generals to hold fossil fuel companies legally accountable for climate change. We will not silenced, and we will not allow this cabinet of billionaires to steamroll the people."
Environmentalist and billionaire Tom Steyer released a statement that said that Tillerson's nomination "completes the takeover of our democracy by Big Oil, Wall Street and the Far Right."
Also opposed is the NAACP, which is opposed to Sen. Sessions’ nomination. The ethnic advocacy group said that it opposes him because of “a record on voting rights that is unreliable at best and hostile at worse; a failing record on other civil rights; a record of racially offensive remarks and behavior; and dismal record on criminal justice reform issues."
CNN reported today that People for the American Way, Alliance for Justice, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, are demanding for his hearing be blocked. These groups are demanding that Sessions provide copies of speeches, articles, and media interviews, and more from his tenure as U.S. Attorney in Alabama. Sessions also served as Alabama’s attorney general, besides his first term as senator (1997-2002).
Democrats are demanding that the nominees be cleared by the FBI, and also submit a complete financial disclosure and an ethics agreement approved by the Office of Government Ethics. In addition, they want certain “requests for additional information" to be satisfied and have enough time to review.
While Democrats can use legislative manouveres to delay the Republicans, a 2013 rule prevents the unilateral blocking of the nominations. They may still try to force the Senate into recess in order to hold committee hearings and force cloture votes on nominees while prolonging debate for as much as 60 days. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says he will call for a "full conversation" on the floor of the Senate, thus allowing 30 hours of debate on cabinet nominations.
The Post points out: "Absent from the Democratic hit list are retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, the pick for defense secretary; South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, whom Trump has nominated to serve as ambassador to the United Nations; and John Kelly, a former Marine general and Trump's selection to lead the Department of Homeland Security, signaling that all three should expect little trouble from Democrats."