Hatch suspends committee rules to pass Trump Cabinet nominees

Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 19:45:32-05

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Utah Senator Orrin Hatch suspended the rules of the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday so Republican senators could vote on two nominees with no Democrats present.

"We took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues," Hatch said.

Democrats refused to attend the committee for a vote, saying that Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin and Health and Human Services Secretary Nominee Tom Price lied about their personal finances.

The Democrats say Price may have benefited from special consideration to buy stock in a health care company while he served on Congressional Committees and sponsored bills pertinent to the company. They say Steve Mnuchin's mortgage bank used automatic signing machines to illegally speed along mortgages.

Hatch did not hide his disgust with the actions of Democratic committee members who walked out, saying it was an unprecedented breach of decorum.

"On the day of markup when everybody knows, after the stunt that was pulled last night, you would think they would be embarrassed not to come," Hatch said. "They ought to be embarrassed."

The Republican senators sitting on the Finance Committee voted to approve both nominees, and their appointments now go to the full Senate for consideration.