Speed Reads

senate confirmations

Republican senator offers Democrat a 'Valium,' sets off fight in finance committee

Steven Mnuchin's Senate confirmation hearing for treasury secretary began Thursday with an eruption, when Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) mockingly offered Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) a Valium pill.

"Sen. Wyden, I've got a Valium pill here you might want to take before the second round. Just a suggestion," Roberts said, offering up the medication that is typically used to treat anxiety.

"Just another suggestion, we've got a lot of colleagues waiting, if you could be brief it would be helpful," Wyden shot back.

"Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman. I hope that comment about Valium doesn't set the tone for 2017," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) broke in as Roberts began to speak again. "I like Sen. Roberts, but I can't quite believe he would say that to a distinguished senator from Oregon."

"I said that to the president of the United States!" Roberts shouted back, setting off a flurry of argument in the room. When Roberts got the floor again he apologized for incurring Brown's "wrath."

"We have many colleagues waiting — " Wyden again interrupted.

"Fine Ron!" Roberts said. "I'm done."