GOP schedules first six cabinet confirmation hearings on one day
posted at 6:41 pm on January 6, 2017 by John Sexton
Democrats hoping to whip up objections to Trump’s cabinet picks are already struggling. The GOP leadership has scheduled six confirmations for next Wednesday, a day already crowded with other activity. From Politico:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has personally urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) not to schedule simultaneous hearings on Trump’s selections, warning that such a move would test the new relationship between the two leaders. But the GOP ignored the entreaty by scheduling the attorney general, secretary of state, CIA director, education secretary, homeland security chief and transportation secretary all for the same day.
“Not acceptable. I’ve told that to Mitch McConnell,” Schumer said in an interview Thursday. “I don’t think my members would find what they did appropriate or acceptable … I talked to Sen. McConnell last night, we had a very good discussion. I am hopeful we can resolve this.”…
“They’ve made pretty clear they intend to slow down and resist and that doesn’t provide a lot of incentive or demonstrate good faith to negotiate changes. So I think we’re going to just be plowing ahead,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas).
But it turns out this is very similar to what Democrats did in 2009, scheduling 7 confirmation hearings on a single day. The tight schedule means some Democrats will be running back and forth between multiple hearing rooms in a single day. Sen. Thom Tillis was not very sympathetic to Democratic complaints. He told Politico, “We’re not going to free up their time to potentially obstruct the president’s transition at the expense of us doing our jobs.”
Republicans should politely ignore Schumer’s pleas for more time. It’s very clear what Democrats intend to do. It’s not as if they’ve been hiding it. They plan to object and obstruct to everything they possibly can. And if they can’t generate enough outrage to block nominees they can at least try to damage the incoming administration before it even gets off the ground.
But obstructionism requires oxygen. It takes time for the media to transmit Democratic talking points. So the clock is definitely their enemy. There’s absolutely no upside to giving the Democrats the time they want to sink or damage these nominees. McConnell should just say no.