Maine

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

Scott Pruitt was confirmed Friday as the new administrator of the EPA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.

Puzder Is First Trump Nominee Spiked by GOP
Votes just weren’t there for fast-food tycoon

Andrew Puzder, left was the first of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to not get enough Republican votes for confirmation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination to be Labor secretary represents a milestone in the nascent Trump administration: the first time congressional Republicans played a significant part in spiking a Donald Trump Cabinet pick. 

The nomination of the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, had been plagued by scandal, including revelations he had employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper and failed to pay taxes on her, as well as the fallout from a 1987 divorce that brought up allegations of domestic violence against him.

Amid Senate Tensions, Hatch Eyes Bipartisan Tax Deal
Utah Republican says House GOP plan will not pass the Senate

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch says that despite “a lot of bitterness around here,” he plans to meet with Senate Democrats to gauge interest in a bipartisan tax proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Utah Sen. Orrin G. Hatch has launched a new push for a bipartisan Senate alternative to the contentious House Republican tax plan, as President Donald Trump begins to frame administration priorities.

The Senate Finance chairman said last week he was meeting with Democratic tax writers one-on-one and hoped there would be leeway for deals, after bitter debates over Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin riled the Senate and exposed deep partisan fault lines.

At DGA, Pearson Quietly Pulling Democrats Back to Prominence
Executive Director is a leading strategist in party’s redistricting effort

Elisabeth Pearson, Executive Director, Democratic Governors Association (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic lawmakers probably wouldn’t recognize Elisabeth Pearson if she walked into their Capitol Hill office, but they might be owing her their jobs before too long. 

As executive director of the Democratic Governors Association and a leading strategist in the party’s redistricting efforts, Pearson’s success will determine how long members stay in Washington.

Photos of the Week: Pence Casts Historic Vote, Gorsuch to the Hill and Warren Reads King
The week of Feb. 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Protesters gather in Upper Senate Park at the Capitol on Monday to call on senators to reject Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

By BILL CLARK and TOM WILLIAMS CQ Roll Call

A busy week in the Capitol was marked by several historic moments, including the first time a vice president has cast a tiebreaker vote on a cabinet nomination. The Senate, in protest of several of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, was in session for more than two days. The late night session made headlines when Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced as she read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King about Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Tom Price Becomes Leader of Crusade to Roll Back Obamacare
Georgia congressman confirmed overnight as Health and Human Services secretary

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, testifies at his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Buildinglast month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Confirmation of Rep. Tom Price gives President Donald Trump his desired point man for replacing Obamacare. Now what?

Price won approval of the Senate, 52-47, around 2 a.m. Friday, and Republicans expect the confirmation will speed up work on rolling back the Affordable Care Act.

CMS Chief Nomination Is Advancing in Vetting Process, HHS Says
Ethics Office expected to announce agreement with Seema Verma

Seema Verma, seen here arriving at Trump Tower in New York last November, was nominated by President Donald Trump to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

The Office of Government Ethics may “very soon” publicly post an agreement with Seema Verma, the Trump administration’s choice to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Health and Human Services Department told CQ Roll Call. The deal would bring her nomination closer to Senate consideration. 

The agreement would address “all potential conflict issues,” HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd said.

Warren Blocked From Speaking During Sessions Confirmation Debate
Republicans say Massachusetts Democrat impugned AG nominee

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was directed to not speak for the remainder of the debate on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:22 p.m. | Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and liberal firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren clashed on the chamber floor Tuesday evening, with the Kentucky Republican moving for the Massachusetts Democrat to take her seat.

Senators voted along party lines, 49-43, to uphold a ruling of the chair, blocking Warren from speaking for the remainder of the debate on confirmation of fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Pence Casts Historic Tiebreaking Vote to Confirm DeVos
DeVos was on the brink of being blocked in the Senate

Betsy DeVos was confirmed to be the next Education secretary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For the first time ever, the vice president was called to Capitol Hill to break a tie on a vote to confirm a member of the Cabinet.

Vice President Mike Pence presided over the Senate for the first time since being sworn in just more than two weeks ago, and cast the tiebreaking vote, 51-50, to confirm Betsy DeVos as the next Education secretary. A vice president had never done so before, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Democrats Make All Night Push, But Won’t Derail DeVos’ Nomination
The president's nominee for Education secretary will get a vote midday Tuesday

Betsy DeVos. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Betsy DeVos is expected to be narrowly confirmed as Education secretary on Tuesday after a contentious process in which Democrats sought the one more vote they need to sink her nomination. A final vote is expected at midday.

While DeVos was expected to squeak by in the Senate, Democrats continued their last-minute push to find a Republican who would join Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in breaking ranks with their party to vote against the confirmation.