This is becoming a pattern after the sitout yesterday of the Senate Finance Committee, which denied a vote to Treasury nominee Stephen Mnuchin and DHHS nominee Tom Price.
Now it’s a different committee, and the victim is Scott Pruitt.
Senate Democrats on Wednesday boycotted a committee vote on President Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), preventing the GOP from moving his confirmation forward.
None of the Democrats on the Environment and Public Works panel, led by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), went into the meeting room, depriving the committee of the two minority party members it requires for a quorum to vote on Scott Pruitt.
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee took a similar strategy Tuesday, boycotting a meeting to consider Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin and Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.
The Finance Committee’s Republicans bypassed the boycott Wednesday by voting to change the panel’s rules and allow a vote without Democrats, something the Environment panel could do to get Pruitt approved.
Committee Republicans slammed the Democrats’ decision to boycott a vote on Pruitt, saying he answered more questions and was subjected to a longer hearing — nearly seven hours — than any previous EPA nominee.
Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) called the Democrats’ boycott “political theater.”
Pruitt’s hearing “was historic in its length of time for member questions to the nominee,” he said.
This isn’t a viable strategy over any length of time, but it probably deserves a beatdown from Mitch McConnell. Here was one potential solution to this problem…
The Democrats want to boycott committee hearings where confirmation votes will be taken? Fine. Fire them from those committees. Find a Republican willing to publicly call himself a Democrat for a day or two, place him on those committees, and you’ve satisfied the quorum rules Schumer and his crowd are abusing to deny those votes.
As of yesterday, only three of Trump’s cabinet nominees had been confirmed. By this point, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had 13, and Barack Obama had 10.