Senate Republicans found a way to end the Democrat boycott of approval votes for President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. The Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee changed the rule stating at least one member from each party must attend a meeting for the committee to do its work.

The Democrats boycotted the hearing yesterday to approve Human and Health Services Secretary nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin. They boycotted Wednesday’s meeting, which forced Republicans to take action:

“It’s just another way of roughing up the president’s nominees,” said committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “They have been treated fairly. We have not been treated fairly.”

The 14 Republicans on the committee voted to approve Price and Mnuchin. A confirmation vote can now take place on the Senate floor.

Hatch said this incident will not stop the Republicans from trying to work with Democrats on other issues, but said that “there is no excuse for what they did yesterday” and there is “no excuse for them not coming today.”

Top Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon said the Democrats found out about the meeting 30 minutes before it started. He claims he found out while attending a meeting about rural health care. Thing is, yesterday when the Democrats boycotted, the GOP did not keep it a secret that the next meeting would occur on Wednesday.

The Democrats decided to boycott the hearings because of a Wall Street Journal article “that said Mr. Price had participated in a private stock offering open to just six individuals, directly contradicting testimony he gave the committee in a hearing last week.”

But Hatch insisted the Democrats have had more than enough time to retrieve any information they want from the nominees and ask him for more time.

The Senate Judiciary Committee finally voted on Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for attorney general. The Democrats bickered so much on Tuesday that the approval vote happened today. The committee approved Sessions by a vote of 11-9 and now moves to the Senate floor.

On Tuesday, the Democrats attempted to connect Sessions to the executive order that halted some forms of immigration from seven countries. I kid you not. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) found evidence in a Washington Post article that reported Trump’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller penned the majority of the executive orders. Sessions had mentored Miller, who became one of the senator’s confidants. Democrats construed this to mean Sessions had a hand in the immigration order. The article also led people to believe Sessions contributed to the order because chief strategist Stephen Bannon praised Sessions in the past.

Feinstein is not the only one:

“To suggest he didn’t have an impact on these executive orders is misleading,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “He had indirect influence at the highest level.”


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