Democrats on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes for President Trump’s cabinet nominees for health and treasury, forcing a postponement.
The Democrats demanded more information on the financial activities of health pick Tom Price and Treasury nominee Stephen Mnuchin
The vote for the nominee of Attorney General, Jeff Sessions has also been postponed. The acting attorney general Sally Yates was sacked on Monday when she questioned the legality of Mr. Trump’s immigration directive, which imposes a ban on seven Muslim countries.
The Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee told reporters outside the hearing that they were seeking additional information about Tom Price’s trading in health company stock.
The Congressman from Georgia has been nominated for the position of health and human services secretary in Trump’s administration.
The senators also raised concern over Stephen Mnuchin’s behavior involving foreclosures at his former bank, OneWest.
The Republican Committee Chair, Senator Orrin Hatch described the Democrats’ behavior as “posturing and acting like idiots.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee has also become a battlefield where a vote is expected on Mr. Sessions. Senator Sessions was an early Trump backer whose Senate hearing got overshadowed by racism allegations.
The meeting on Tuesday began with Committee Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley saying that neither Mr. Sessions nor any of his staff members had anything to do with the formulation of executive orders – including the controversial travel ban.
Many Democratic Senators have spoken in the committee meeting to say that they intend to vote against the Alabama senator.
Sen. Diane Feinstein lambasted Mr. Sessions for the role he played during Trump’s election campaign and his closeness to the new President.
“It is very difficult to reconcile for me the independence and objectivity necessary for the position of attorney general with the partisanship this nominee has demonstrated.”
In case the judiciary committee approves the nomination of Mr. Sessions, a full Senate vote will be ensued by the end of the week where Republicans hold a 52-48 majority.
The 69-year-old Alabama Senator faced two days of tough questioning during his confirmation hearings this month.
Mr. Sessions is one of the most conservative members of the Senate, who was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after the judiciary committee heard testimony about his remarks on race.
In other developments on Tuesday:
- Mr. Trump’s choice to fill the vacant seat on Supreme Court is due to be announced.
- The Senate Energy Committee approves Rick Perry to head the Energy Department and Ryan Zinke to head the Interior Department.
- The Education Committee approves Besty DeVos as education secretary.
- The full Senate vote confirmed Elaine Chao as transportation secretary.
The attorney general is the top U.S. prosecutor who leads the Department of Justice and advises the president on legal issues.
Ms. Yates was fired by President Trump for “betraying” the justice department and being “weak on borders.” She had said that she was “not convinced” that the President’s immigration order was lawful.
The White House has defended the ban with Sean Spicer saying that diplomats should get with the program.