Cabinet2016

Confirmation Speculation Swirls in the Senate
Leaders are negotiating whether Cabinet picks can be swiftly confirmed Friday

Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis could be one of the nominees confirmed on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators’ focus on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees continued Wednesday afternoon, with some attention turning toward which nominees might be confirmed on Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-NY., are currently in negotiations over which nominees could be swiftly confirmed. Democrats will need to cooperate to either confirm nominees by unanimous consent or agree to limiting time for their consideration. 

Zinke, DeVos Kick Off Week of Senate Hearings
Senate is also voting on a bill relating to the GAO

Betsy DeVos, nominee for Education secretary, has her confirmation hearing Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Preparations for the incoming administration will likely dominate the Senate this week with hearings each day leading up to President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday. Two of his nominees are facing Senate committees Tuesday. 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold its confirmation hearing at 2:15 p.m. for Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke to be the next Interior secretary.

Schumer Says He’ll Oppose Sessions’ Nomination
Democrats unlikely to be able to block nomination, however

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said he couldn't support Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general because “I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Thursday that he will oppose Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination to be the next attorney general.

“After reviewing his record and giving careful consideration to his answers during the hearing, I am not confident in Senator Sessions’ ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration,” the New York Democrat said in a statement.

Tillerson Grilled on Russia at Confirmation Hearing
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pose questions about sanctions

Secretary of State-designee Rex Tillerson arrives for his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Secretary of State-designee Rex Tillerson faced questions on Russia throughout a lengthy confirmation hearing Wednesday, but the most aggressive exchange came from a Republican senator who could sink his nomination in committee: Marco Rubio.

At the Senate Foreign Relations hearing, the fast-talking Floridian and former presidential candidate grilled the former Exxon Mobil CEO on sanctions against Russia and whether Russian president Vladimir Putin was a war criminal who murders his political opponents.

Booker Breaks Precedent by Testifying Against Sessions
Says AG designee’s record is ’concerning in a number of ways’

Booker will testify against his colleague. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Cory Booker will on Wednesday take the apparently unprecedented step of testifying against the confirmation of fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be attorney general, a move that could firm up Booker’s progressive bona fides ahead of a possible 2020 presidential bid.

“I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague,” Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, said in a statement. “But the immense powers of the attorney general, combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience.”

Senators Gear Up for Confirmation Battles
9 of Trump’s Cabinet picks face Senate committees this week

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is calling for hearings to be delayed if nominees have not filed all their paperwork with the Office of Government Ethics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll)

Updated 1/9/2017 at 4:50 p.m.

The Senate is moving full steam ahead on President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, and Democrats are clamoring for a fight. 

Senate Foreign Relations Divided Over Tillerson Tax Returns
Cardin, the ranking Democrat, has requested three years of filings

Corker, left, and Cardin, right, are the top senators on Foreign Relations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are squaring off over whether the committee should examine Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s tax returns as part of the confirmation process.

Tillerson, the chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil, is set to face the committee in January and, following tradition, will submit financial disclosure forms and ethics documents. But the committee’s ranking Democrat has also requested to see the nominee’s tax returns.

Heitkamp Says She's 'Likely' to Stay in Senate
The North Dakota Democrat has been floated as a potential Trump Cabinet pick

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., spoke Thursday about her future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said she will likely remain in the Senate, despite being floated as a one of President-elect Donald Trump’s potential Cabinet picks.

“The job that I have right now is incredibly challenging. I love it,” the North Dakota Democrat told her brother Joel Heitkamp’s KFGO radio program on Thursday morning. “These are ongoing discussions but also I will tell you that my first love is serving the people of North Dakota.“ 

Top Senate Democrats List Requirements for Trump Nominees
The ranking members of each Senate committee signed onto a joint statement

Wyden is the ranking member on the Finance Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The ranking Democrats on each Senate committee are drawing battle lines for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, listing a series of requirements for confirmations to proceed.

The senators are responding to a New York Times report that stated the vetting of financial disclosure statements for Trump’s nominees has been “unusually slow,” causing concern that the Republicans in charge of the chamber could allow confirmation hearings to move forward without the complete vetting by the Office of Government Ethics.

Report: Trump Taps Rick Perry for Energy Secretary
The former Texas governor once wanted to cut the Energy Department completely

Former Gov. Rick Perry endorsed Donald Trump rival and fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz before endorsing Trump once it became clear the business mogul would win the Republican presidential nomination. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After a last-minute meeting on Monday, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen former Texas Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry for Energy secretary, CBS News reported Tuesday.

Perry would take over a department that he famously advocated scrapping.