How Cabinet appointments get confirmed and what we can do about it
Over the past two months, we have reacted with disbelief to the President-elect's cabinet picks. Many of these appointees come from the private-sector and from within an industry that presents a direct conflict of interest with the department they intend to oversee. Rather than "draining the swamp," Trump has filled his cabinet with billionaire CEO's, and corporate and Washington insiders.
As Congress gets back to work, a schedule of confirmation hearings has already been announced for some of these top positions. Here is a quick guide to how the confirmation process works. Over the next few days, we will be sending out actions to directly address individual appointees. For now, find some time to read up on how the process works and how Senate Democrats can possibly disrupt it.
1. LEARN about all the cabinet appointees here.
2. READ up on the process of cabinet confirmation here.
Here's a quick breakdown of the above article:
a) A nomination is given to the relevant senate committee (made up of Republican and Democratic Senators).
b) That committee can then hold hearings, vote to move the nomination straight to the Senate floor for a vote or not move on it at all (in which case, the committee effectually kills the nomination).
c) After hearings, the committee votes to report a nomination to the full Senate. It may vote to report the nomination favorably, unfavorably or without recommendation. If a committee sits on an appointment, the full Senate may vote to invoke cloture and move the nomination along.
d) If a nomination clears committee, it moves to the Senate floor and can be confirmed by a simple majority Senate vote.
3. STRATEGIZE Although Democrats cannot block the vote, Senate Democrats can slow down the process by asking the the party leader, Chuck Schumer, to delay the vote. They can also ask for 30 hours of debate on each nomination. This is what Republicans did to obstruct and effectively kill Obama's Supreme Court Justice nomination. We must make clear to Schumer and other Democratic Senators, that we need them to employ all and any tactics to fight these nominations.
4. BEGIN TO ACT Find out if one of your state senators is on a relevant committee holding a hearing for the nomination, and start writing and calling any time. And look out for our detailed actions in response to many of these nominations over the next few days.