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Start Your Engines…

Within 24 hours of their return, Senate Democrats are already lining up to ask tough questions of President-Elect Trump’s Cabinet nominees and make their preferred approach known, despite being in the minority.  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has shared a list of eight nominees who will have a difficult time gaining votes of confidence from Senate Democrats.  Leading the field are Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator) and Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State).  Other nominees who can expect an extended process include Mick Mulvaney (Budget Director) and Jeff Sessions (Attorney General).  These would be followed by Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education), Tom Price (Health & Human Services Secretary), Andrew Puzder (Secretary of Labor), and Steve Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary).  Confirmation hearings are set to begin next week.  Schumer has proposed that there be two days of hearings for each of these nominees and that each nominee has a separate week of hearings with no more than two nominees being heard in a single week.  This would significantly stretch out the confirmation process.  In contrast, when President Obama took office, many Cabinet nominees had already been vetted and were confirmed by the Senate on Inauguration Day.  It is doubtful that the Republican majority will accede to Schumer’s proposals.