Senate Finance Committee Republicans voted to recommend the nominations of Steve Mnuchin, as Treasury secretary, and Tom Price, as head of the Health and Human Services department, to the full Senate, managing to skirt around a boycott from committee Democrats.
On Tuesday, Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted the already rescheduled Tuesday meeting to vote on Mnuchin and Price. According to the rules, at least one Democrat must be present for the committee votes to take place.
Republican Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, viewed the Democrats’ protest as “offensive” and “shocking” and instead chose to go a different route to pass the two nominations, opting to suspend the rule, which the committee is allowed to do at any time.
Since every Republican member of the committee was present and voting, exceeding the one-third requirement for a quorum, the nomination passed.
Due to his colleagues “using their own parsed words and vague questions as justification for their refusal to even vote on these nominations,” Hatch noted in his remarks, “We are currently in the midst of the longest transition period without a confirmed Treasury Secretary in our nation’s history.”
“Long story short, we took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleague,” Hatch said.