McConnell to Dems: 'Grow Up' and 'Get Past' the Confirmation Stonewalling

By Susan Jones | January 9, 2017 | 5:16am EST
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 12, 2016. The government's ethics office says several of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet choices have not completed a review to avoid conflicts of interest even as Senate Republicans move rapidly to hold at least seven confirmation hearings next week. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(CNSNews.com) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says there will be no slowdown, as far as he knows, in the process to confirm Donald Trump's cabinet nominees.

He said Democrats who want to bog down the confirmations need to "grow up here and get past that."

The Office of Government Ethics reportedly has asked the Senate to delay confirmation hearings for Trump's nominees until they submit their finances and other paperwork for an ethics review.

"Well, we are still in the process of getting the papers in," McConnell told John Dickerson, host of CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I think at least five of the nominees have all of their papers in. You know, what this is about, John, the Democrats are really frustrated that they lost the election. I was in Senator Schumer's position eight years ago. I know how it feels when you are coming into a new situation that the other guys won the election.

"What did we do? We confirmed seven Cabinet appointments the day President Obama was sworn in. We didn't like most of them, either. But he won the election. So all of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration in having not only lost the White House, but having lost the Senate.

"I understand that, but we need to sort of grow up here and get past that. We need to have the president`s national security team in place on day one. And papers are still coming in. And so I am optimistic that we will be able to get up to seven nominees on day one, just like we did eight years ago."

The first confirmation hearings for Trump nominees will begin Tuesday, with Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Gen. John Kelly facing questions at open hearings. Sessions is Trump's choice for attorney general and Kelly is tapped to be the next homeland security secretary.

At least five other nominees are expected to have their hearings on Wednesday and Thursday.

McConnell said Democrats "should want to treat President-elect Trump just like we treated president-elect Obama."

With a new administration taking over on January 20, "You want to have, at the very least, a national security team in place on day one," McConnell added. "And I am hopeful and optimistic that that will be the case this time as well."

On "Fox News Sunday," Trump's incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus said far from delaying the confirmation hearings, things should "move faster."

"I mean, when Senator Schumer says that he is going to allow the vacancy in the Supreme Court to take as long as he wants, and he's going to hold up cabinet secretaries, and he's targeting eight of them when only just a few short years ago, it was the Democrats that were saying, we needed to move swiftly to approve these cabinet secretaries.  

"Eight cabinet secretaries were approved for President Obama on day one. And now, they turn around and say they're going to drag their feet and put people through the ringer -- I mean, look, it's a frustrating situation."

Priebus said it's the same with any other new administration: "Change was voted for and change we will get," he said.

Trump critic Sen. Elizabeth Warren complained over the weekend that Republicans "are desperately trying to rush Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees."

She noted that hearings "are historically not conducted" until the Office of Government Ethics certifies that the nominees are free of "dangerous conflicts of interest."

Warren called it "ridiculous" that some of Trump's nominees have not submitted draft financial disclosure reports:

"Donald Trump’s nominees can’t drag their feet on their required ethics paperwork while their friends in the Senate try to run out the clock," Warren wrote. "Cabinet officials must put the interests of our country before their own bank accounts – and NO Senate confirmation hearings should be held until we are 100% certain that is the case. That’s good government – and it prevents nominees from breaking the law."

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