Democrats have finally figured out that they too can play hardball with Republicans. It’s a beautiful thing.
On Tuesday morning Democrats blocked committee votes on two key Trump nominees, Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin. Price is Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Mnuchin is the Treasury nominee.
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee refused to show up for the scheduled vote, leaving Republicans without the quorum needed to move forward. The rules require at least one Democrat to be present in order to have a quorum.
Committee chairman Orrin Hatch wasn’t happy,”I think some of this is because they just don’t like the president,” he said. Then, apparently forgetting the behavior of his party during the Obama years, Hatch called the boycott “one of the most alarming things I have seen in my whole 40 years in the Senate.”
Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, the ranking member on the committee, issued a statement explaining the boycott. He said both nominees had misled the committee by withholding “important information about their backgrounds.” Price has held stock in healthcare companies at the same time he cast votes in Congress on matters potentially affecting those companies. Mnuchin failed to disclose some $100 million in assets as well as his role as a director at several offshore investment funds.
Wyden didn’t mince words. He said:
Until questions are answered, Democrats believe the committee should not move forward with either nomination. … This is about getting answers to questions, plain and simple. Ethics laws are not optional, and nominees do not have a right to treat disclosure like a shell game.
No doubt Republicans expected Democrats to do what Democrats always do when push comes to shove — cave in. But this move is a sign that maybe this time, finally, Democrats have found their spine and are willing to fight our president-who-would-be-king.
How do you like the word “obstruction” now, GOP?