The Trump Transition: Confirmation hearings begin this week

The Washington Post

This week is shaping up to be one of the most consequential of President-elect Donald Trump's transition, as senators prepare to consider as many as seven Cabinet nominees in committee.

Republicans are under fire from Democrats and ethics officials for scheduling confirmation hearings before investigators complete a background examination for each nominee, a precedent that goes back decades. But Sunday, Republican leaders vowed to press ahead, saying there are no plans to change the schedule.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that Democrats should "grow up and get past" the election result.

"We confirmed seven Cabinet appointments the day President Obama was sworn in," he said, noting Republicans were a comparable position in 2009. "We didn't like most of them, either. But he won the election," McConnell said. "So all of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration at having not only lost the White House, but having lost the Senate."

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YOUR GUIDE TO THE CONFIRMATION HEARINGS

Prepare yourself -- things are about to get confusing on Capitol Hill. Here's which committee is considering which nominee:

Tuesday:

--Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), for attorney general.

--Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Gen. John Kelly (Ret.), for homeland security secretary

Wednesday:

--Sessions hearing continues

--Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rex Tillerson, for secretary of state

--Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Pompeo, for CIA director

--Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Betsy DeVos, for education secretary

--Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Elaine Chao, for transportation secretary

Thursday:

--Tillerson hearing expected to continue

--Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Wilbur Ross, commerce secretary

--Senate Banking, House and Urban Affairs, Ben Carson, housing and urban development secretary

--Tentatively Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Andrew Puzder, labor secretary

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The packed schedule prompted a critical tweetstorm from Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, D:

1) Simultaneous hearings on cabinet nominees make it physically impossible for most of us, on multiple committees, to advise and consent.

2) Add to that the lack of a full disclosure of the standard ethics information, and we are being asked to rubber stamp a cabinet.

3) The current plan is for these hearings to be more brief than usual, without multiple rounds of questions.

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ON THE CALENDAR: TRUMP NEWS CONFERENCE, BUDGET VOTE-A-RAMA

It's been six months since Trump held a news conference, and now, he's finally expected to submit to open questioning from the press on Wednesday. As our The Post wrote this weekend, the timing means Trump will receive pointed questions about Russian interference in the election -- a topic Trump's team is trying strenuously to avoid.

Complicating matters Wednesday, the Senate will consider its first budget resolution of the new Congress. This means one thing: a vote-a-rama expected to go late into the night, involving dozens of amendment votes, since any senator can offer an amendment on any issue.

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