Speed Reads

Politics

Chuck Schumer is using Mitch McConnell's words against him

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's words are coming back to haunt him.

In 2009, McConnell wrote a letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, telling him the Republicans had a set of "standards" that President Obama's Cabinet nominees had to meet, and if they didn't complete background checks, ethics reviews, or financial disclosure statements, the GOP would not allow votes. On Monday, Democratic House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was going to send the letter back to McConnell, with McConnell's name replacing Reid's and Schumer's signature overriding McConnell's. "Our requests are eminently reasonable, shared by leaders of both parties," he tweeted. "I'll return this letter to [McConnell] with the same requests."

Confirmation hearings are set to start Tuesday, even though some of the nominees haven't even undergone ethics reviews yet. McConnell isn't letting that stop him from pushing the hearings through at breakneck speed; on Sunday, he said Democrats aren't worried over the lack of information from the nominees, but have "frustration" over having lost.

That's not true, Schumer said Monday from the Senate floor. "Bear in mind President-elect Trump's nominees pose particularly difficult ethics and conflict of interest challenges," he said. "They come from enormous wealth, many have vast holdings and stocks, and very few have experience in government, so they have not been appropriately vetted for something like a Cabinet post before. What had been standard practice for the vast majority of nominees — the completion of a preliminary ethics review before their nomination — was skipped over for the vast majority of President-elect Trump's nominees."