Republican plans to quickly confirm Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees were upended Tuesday amid Democratic pressure to slow down the schedule as a federal ethics watchdog reviewing the backgrounds of nominees warned it could take months to probe some of the wealthier picks.
Hearings for Trump’s nominees began Tuesday with consideration of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to serve as attorney general and retired Marine general James Kelly to serve as homeland security secretary. But the schedule for a packed day of proceedings on Wednesday was revised late Monday, when the Senate health and education panel postponed a hearing on #Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary, until next week. It also announced that a scheduled hearing next week with Andrew Puzder, Trump’s choice for labor secretary, might not happen until February due to scheduling conflicts.
The Senate Intelligence Committee also postponed until Thursday a hearing for Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) to serve as CIA director. The panel had originally scheduled Pompeo for Wednesday.
That means that a once-jammed calendar of hearings on Wednesday will feature just three: a second day for Sessions, a Foreign Relations Committee hearing with Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice for secretary of state, and a Commerce Committee hearing with Elaine L. Chao, the nominee for transportation secretary.
There are no indications that any of Trump’s Cabinet choices are at risk of being rejected by the Senate — a rare occurrence — and Republican leaders continue to insist that all of Trump’s choices will be confirmed. But the calendar changes followed days of Republican assurances that hearings would commence quickly and simultaneously.