Yesterday, Democrats asked for a delay of the committee vote for Trump’s Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin so that they could attend an anti-Trump vigil. Today, Democrats refused to show up for the rescheduled committee meeting where the vote on Mnuchin, and Trump’s Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price, were scheduled to take place. Committee rules require that at least one Democrat be present for a vote to be held. From the Associated Press:
In an unusual and hastily called briefing for reporters, Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee said they would not attend the panel’s planned votes until they could ask more questions about Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., the Health nominee and Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury selection, who they said had misled Congress about their backgrounds.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the men would hold positions “that directly affect peoples’ lives every day. The truth matters.”…
Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, accused Democrats of “a lack of desire to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities.”
“They ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots,” he said.
Hatch said he would reschedule the vote and see if Democrats would show up.
This is not the first time this tactic has been used. In 2013, the GOP chose to boycott a vote on Obama’s EPA nominee Gina McCarthy. At the time, the Washington Post reported the Obama administration had “expressed outrage” over the boycott. Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer said at the time, “We just had an election. This isn’t Mr. Romney’s cabinet, this isn’t Mr. Rick Perry’s cabinet, this is Barack Obama’s cabinet, so don’t be that shocked that you may not agree with her views.”
In 2003, Democrats held a similar boycott of George W. Bush’s EPA nominee.