Yesterday, Democrats chose to boycott a committee vote to advance the nomination of Trump’s EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt. Today, Republicans responded by temporarily suspending the rules of the committee, which required that at least one Democrat be present, and advanced his nomination to the full Senate. From the New York Times:
The 11-0 vote sends the nomination to the full Senate, where Mr. Pruitt is most likely to be approved next week…
Republicans mocked the Democratic boycott.
“Democrats are just wasting time by pulling this stunt,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia. “Eighty percent of life is showing up. Democrats are just wasting their lives.”
Democrats are complaining that Pruitt has not answered all their questions but as the Times points out, he provided “written answers to over 1,070 questions sent to him by committee Democrats, in a 252-page file.” Pruitt already offered a book length reply to Democrats’ questions. They don’t want more answers, they want to delay and obstruct his nomination.
This is the third time in a week Democrats have attempted to boycott one of Trump’s nominees. On Tuesday, Democrats failed to show up for a committee vote on Trump’s Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin and his HHS nominee Tom Price. Chairman Orrin Hatch was irritated with Democrats saying, “They ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots.” The following day Hatch suspended the rules of the committee and advanced both nominations to the full Senate.
It’s not hard to see what is going on here. Democrats are under immense pressure from the far-left wing of their party not to cooperate with the Trump administration at all. For example, just yesterday Michael Moore threatening to help primary any Democratic Senator who didn’t filibuster Judge Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. So for Dems, this is about making symbolic moves that appease ‘The Resistance’ even though they know these moves are futile.
Futile or not, Democratic obstructionism has introduced unprecedented delays in the confirmation of Trump’s cabinet picks, as Jon Karl pointed out yesterday:
The Senate has only confirmed 4 of @realDonaldTrump's cabinet-level nominees as of 1/31. The fewest of any President in at least 40 years.
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) January 31, 2017