Senate leader tells Democrats to “grow up”

Daily News Article   —   Posted on January 10, 2017

Senate leader tells Democrats to “grow up”

Some of Trump's Cabinet picks, left to right: Scott Pruitt (EPA), Betsy DeVos (Education), Andy Puzder (Labor), Steven Mnuchin (Treasury)

[NOTE: At least seven Trump Cabinet nominees are expected to appear before Senate committees this week.  Congress can’t officially confirm a president’s nominees until after he’s sworn in, but can hold hearings to help expedite the process and get nominations ready for Inauguration Day — (which is the first day a nominee can be confirmed).
Each nominee will first have a hearing with the Senate committee that has oversight responsibilities for his or her department. Once the committee holds a vote and approves the nominee, that candidate will be voted on by the full Senate].

(by Emily Schultheis, CBS News) – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects the confirmation process for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to continue on schedule — and that Democrats attempting to delay the process are doing so because they’re “frustrated that they lost the election.”

“All of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration at having not only lost the White House but having lost the Senate,” McConnell told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I understand that but we need to sort of grow up here and get past that.”

McConnell said that, just as the Senate did for Mr. Obama’s nominees in 2009, he expects to have seven of Mr. Trump’s nominees confirmed the same day he is inaugurated.

McConnell’s comments come after the Office of Government Ethics expressed concern about the confirmation timeline in a letter to Democratic senators on Friday, saying that several of Mr. Trump’s nominees still have not been fully vetted. In the case of some of his nominees — such as ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson — the individuals’ vast financial and business holdings contribute to the need for more time to review everything. Democrats have called for more disclosure from the nominees, including tax returns.

Senate Republicans felt equally opposed to Mr. Obama’s Cabinet picks eight years ago, McConnell said, but they voted to confirm them anyway.

“I was in [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer’s situation eight years ago … what did we do? We confirmed seven cabinet appointments the day President Obama was sworn in,” he said. “We didn’t like most of them either, but he won the election.”

He dismissed Democrats’ arguments that there are ethical concerns with some of Mr. Trump’s nominees, saying Republicans felt just as strongly about Mr. Obama’s “wildly liberal” nominees in 2009.

“We found most of his [Obama’s] Cabinet appointments just as disturbing as they would find President-elect Trump’s,” he said. “And that’s what happens when you lose the election.”

…On the intelligence community’s report on Russian hacking activities relating to the U.S. election and Mr. Trump’s comments on the issue, McConnell said he understands a new president’s hope to get along with Russia — but said those hopes will “be dashed pretty quickly” once Mr. Trump takes office.

“I don’t think it’s all that unusual for a new president to want to get along with the Russians — I remember George W. Bush having the same hope,” he said. “My suspicion is these hopes will be dashed pretty quickly — the Russians are clearly a big adversary and they demonstrated it by trying to mess around in our election.”

He added that Mr. Trump’s national security picks make it clear that he will not be soft on Russia.

“I think the best way to look at the president-elect’s attitude toward the Russians is to look at incoming national security leaders: Gen. Mattis, Gen. Kelly, Cong. Pompeo, Sen. Coats,” he said. “None of these are people are in any way conflicted about the view that the Russians are not our friends and are a big problem.” …

For a list of Trump’s cabinet nominees, go to President-elect Trump’s transition website greatagain.gov.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from CBSNews. Visit the website at cbsnews .com.

Questions

1. a) What is the purpose of the President’s cabinet?
b) How are a President’s cabinet picks confirmed?

2. What does Senate Majority leader Republican Mitch McConnell expect to happen regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominations?

3. Why does Sen. McConnell think Democrats in the Senate are attempting to delay the confirmation process?

4. What facts does Senator McConnell point out about the confirmation of President Obama’s cabinet nominees after he won the presidency in 2008?

5. a) Does Senator McConnell make a valid point? Explain your answer.
b) Regardless of the political party you support, do you think in general the opposite party in the Senate should confirm eligible cabinet picks based on McConnell’s reasoning? Explain your answer.
c) Ask a parent the same questions a) and b)

CHALLENGE: Check out the list of Trump’s Cabinet nominees. Choose one and follow news on his/her confirmation hearings.


Free Answers — Sign-up here to receive a daily email with answers.

Background

For a list of Trump’s cabinet nominees, go to President-elect Trump’s transition website greatagain.gov and to wikipedia.

The President’s cabinet: (from bensguide.gpo.gov – website has been updated, link no longer works)

The executive branch of the Government is responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. When George Washington was president, people recognized that one person could not carry out the duties of the President without advice and assistance. The Vice President, department heads (Cabinet members), and heads of independent agencies assist in this capacity. Unlike the powers of the President, their responsibilities are not defined in the Constitution but each has special powers and functions.

One of the principal purposes of the Cabinet (drawn from Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution) is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of their respective offices.  Department heads advise the President on policy issues and help execute those policies.

  • The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments-the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General. Under President George W. Bush, Cabinet-level rank also has been accorded to the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; Director, Office of Management and Budget; the Director, National Drug Control Policy; and the U.S. Trade RepresentativeIt is unknown if President Obama will do the same.
  • The 15 Secretaries from the executive departments are appointed by the President, and they must be confirmed by a majority vote (51 votes) of the Senate. They cannot be a member of Congress or hold any other elected office.
  • Cabinet appointments are for the duration of the administration, but the President may dismiss any member at any time, without approval of the Senate. In addition, they are expected to resign when a new President takes office.

Resources

To gain an understanding about what each member of the Cabinet does, visit the department websites below.  (Note the year each department was established)

On each homepage, usually under “about us,” click on the link for the Secretary’s page:

  • Secretary of State (1789) at state.gov.
  • Secretary of the Treasury (1789) at ustreas.gov.
  • Secretary of the Interior (1849) at doi.gov.
  • Secretary of Agriculture (1862) at usda.gov.
  • Attorney General (1870) at usdoj.gov.
  • Secretary of Commerce (1903) at commerce.gov.
  • Secretary of Labor (1913) at dol.gov.
  • Secretary of Defense (1947) at defenselink.mil.
  • Secretary of Health & Human Services (1953) at dhhs.gov.
  • Secretary of Housing & Urban Development (1965) at hud.gov.
  • Secretary of Transportation (1966) at dot.gov.
  • Secretary of Energy (1977) at energy.gov.
  • Secretary of Education(1979) at ed.gov.
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs (1988) at va.gov.
  • Secretary of Homeland Security(2003) at dhs.gov.