Senate votes for Trump’s Cabinet and Other Nominees
Common topic of conversation lately has been Senate Democrats’ apparent willingness to vote for the Trump nominees. My view is that the votes that have taken place at this point haven’t involved the more troubling nominees, so I am not ready to second-guess the decisions. With many of the other ones I would.
Articles on the topic includes these, at the Washington Post and Slate, as well as this, on the Ben Carson committee vote especially, also at WaPo. Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook explanation on the topic is here.
My own view is that in some cases–Sessions, Price, DeVos, probably Tillerson and Puzder–I will be upset, barring some good reason that has not been given yet–if a Senate Dem supports them. (I may discuss this when the votes happen, and since Republicans would have to oppose them for any not to be approved, I don’t expect that. How the Dems vote is pretty much academic, even though it matters to a lot of us.)
But in other cases, including the votes to date and maybe Carson, I don’t have a huge problem. On Carson in particular, I have some knowledge about and experience with HUD, HUD (probably like other agencies of its sort) is a huge bureaucracy with longstanding civil servant employees who have their own commitments that will exist whoever is at the top of the agency (my experience with them includes, in part, the Bush administration era), and so long as the top isn’t really activist and dedicated to a particular vision, it’s quite possible it will not make that much difference. So given a choice between someone who seems likely to be ignorant about the policy issues and is not experienced at all vs. the alternative of someone dedicated to opposing the mission of the agency? I can see going for Carson. In other words, Warren’s argument makes sense to me.
Here are the full Senate votes so far:
Jan 24: as Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley (96-4). Nays are Coons (D-DE), Sanders (I-VT), Heinrich (D-NM), and Udall (D-NM). Durbin and Duckworth are yeas.
Jan 23: as Director of CIA, Mike Pompeo (66-32-2). All the nays are all Dems except for Sanders (since he’s apparently still an I, despite the primaries, sigh), and Rand Paul. Durbin and Duckworth are nays. Democratic yeas are Donnelly (D-IN), Feinstein (D-CA), Hassan (D-NH), Heitkamp (D-ND), Kaine (D-VA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Reed (D-RI), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Warner (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI). Blumenthal (D-CT), and Murphy (D-CT) are the ones who did not vote.
Jan 20: as Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly (88-11-1). The one who did not vote was Sessions (R-AL). All the nays were Dems, but of course many Dems voted yea, including Durbin and Duckworth.
Jan 20: as Secretary of Defense, James Mattis (98-1-1). Sessions didn’t vote on this one either. The only nay was Gillibrand (D-NY) (this is discussed some in the articles linked above, especially the first WaPo article). Durbin and Duckworth voted yea.
House votes on the various bills are harder to follow, but the only ones that appear particularly notable so far are the banning of taxpayer funded abortion (I wasn’t sure how this was different from the existing Hyde Amendment, but this explains it) and of course the health care vote (discussed in the NYT here). The abortion vote was basically on party lines, with only 3 Dems voting for it (Henry Cuellar (TX), Daniel Lipinski (IL), and Collin Peterson (MN). My Congressman, Mike Quigley (IL-5th), voted against. If I omitted something I should have included, please let me know.
More on the initial ACA repeal efforts here, and so far it seems no Dems have voted in favor.
Wasn’t really planning to talk about politics here, but I feel like it’s necessary to at least keep a log and some factual information. I’ll do a separate post on the executive orders, which of course have been the much bigger issue in the past few days.