Senate Republicans plan on helping President-elect Donald Trump confirm some of his more controversial cabinet appointments by holding a marathon session of hearings on Wednesday and through Thursday — a procedure that Democrats claim is intended to help the picks avoid serious scrutiny.
Get ready for next Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/we37XvdpKf
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) January 5, 2017
On the same day that Trump has scheduled a news conference (which could also distract attention from the confirmation hearings), the Senate is scheduled to hear from a number of Trump's potential appointments — some of whom have baggage — on Wednesday and Thursday, according to The Hill on Wednesday. Here's who Congress will hear from:
- Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Senator who Trump wants as his attorney general
- Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO who was tapped to be secretary of state
- Betsy DeVos, the nominee for secretary of education who is best known for her crusade in favor of charter schools and taxpayer-funded vouchers
- Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, who Trump has nominated as CIA director
- Former Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, who Trump has nominated for secretary of homeland security
- Elaine Chao, who Trump wants to be secretary of transportation.
These selections will be controversial for a number of reasons, ranging from Tillerson's close ties to Russia and Pompeo's past support for torture to the fact that Sessions has faced credible accusations of racism and Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Other Trump appointments scheduled for hearings next week include Andrew Puzder, the fast food executive Trump wants to lead the labor department, and retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, the secretary of defense pick who will need a waiver in order to serve as secretary of defense less than seven years after leaving the military.
"That is mostly unprecedented in the modern era of Cabinet considerations, happening only once in history," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. "That’s not the standard."
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said he agreed with Schumer's dismay.
"They’re jamming them together so that they receive less scrutiny and attention individually," said Blumenthal. "I regret that there are so many hearings bunched together."