Democrats plan drawn-out fight over Trump's Cabinet picks

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Senate Democrats are in no mood to cooperate with President-elect Donald Trump over his Cabinet picks, and many are planning to make the confirmation process as difficult as they can, Politico reports.

For some, it is a case of giving Senate Republicans a taste of their own medicine: "They've been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We're going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?" Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) told Politico, referencing Republicans' refusal to confirm President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. "It's not obstruction, it's not partisan, it's just a duty to find out what they'd do in these jobs," Brown added.

While some of Trump's picks will likely be quickly confirmed, others, like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary, could present a drawn-out fight that might steal the thunder from Trump's first 100 days in office:

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Senate Democrats can't block Trump's appointments, which in all but one case need only 51 votes for confirmation. But they can turn the confirmation process into a slog.Any individual senator can force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold procedural votes on nominees. Senior Democrats said a series of such votes are likely for many of Trump's picks.Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year. The minority could also stymie lower-level nominees and potentially keep the Senate focused on executive confirmations for weeks as Trump assumes the presidency and congressional Republicans try to capitalize on their political momentum. [Politico]

"I don't want to needlessly prevent President Trump from being successful but accelerating the confirmation of unacceptable candidates who have views that are outside the mainstream is not constructive," Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) explained to Politico.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.