CNBC is reporting that Republicans in the Senate Finance Committee have changed procedural rules and cleared the nominations of Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin without the committee’s Democrats.
Tuesday, Democrats on the Finance Committee boycotted the vote on Trump’s Health and Human Services and Treasury nominees, alleging that both had misled the committee and the public in their nomination hearings. CNN reported Tuesday that Mnuchin had told committee staff that his responses during his hearing had not been “true, accurate and complete.”
Democrats continued the boycott Wednesday, but Republicans then changed the rules and went ahead with the vote anyway. From CNN:
Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, pointing to the “extraordinary circumstances” of the meeting, allowed the Republicans on the committee to vote to suspend the rules of the committee. Hatch said the Senate Parliamentarian approved of the procedural maneuver.
Under the rules, it is required that at least one Democrat be present for the panel to vote to send a nominee to the Senate floor. On Tuesday, not a single Democrat showed up, putting the two nominations at a standstill.
With the committee rules suspended, the 14 Republicans in the room voted Wednesday morning to move the Mnuchin and Price nominations to the full Senate.
Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who led the boycott, told Politico’s Seung Min Kim that the move happened without warning.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, accused the committee’s Democrats of “posturing and acting like idiots” on Tuesday and on Wednesday said “they have nobody to blame but themselves.”
We’ll update this post when we know more.