Facing a boycott from Democrats, a Senate panel took unusual emergency steps Wednesday to advance the nominations of Steven Mnuchin to run Treasury and Tom Price to head Health and Human Services.
The Senate Finance Committee moved to report both of them to the Senate floor on 14-0 votes, with only Republicans participating, after voting to suspend the panel’s rules.
The unusual steps came one day after Democrats forced a delay on scheduled votes by boycotting the committee’s meeting. Chairman Orrin Hatch said Tuesday he was furious at Democrats, and vowed to push the nominations forward.
Hatch said Wednesday that the emergency steps were the proper course of action.
“For the record, I’ll note that the Senate Parliamentarian Office has confirmed that this course of action is consistent with both the committee and Senate rules,” he said.
Democrats could try to challenge the committee’s actions when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to bring them up for a floor vote, but they may not be able to block it.
Hatch told reporters afterward he didn’t know when a floor vote would be scheduled on either nominee.
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