Bench Memos

Confirmation Pace Reality Check

Democrats are pushing a narrative that Republicans are rushing through the confirmation hearings in order to avoid bad press. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently claimed that “Rather than ensuring that nominees are thoroughly vetted and will remove themselves from conflicts of interests, Senate Republicans are trying to ram them through as quickly as possible.”

These confirmation hearings are not moving as quickly as possible. Obama’s first cabinet has them handily beat.

The Senate held hearings for nine of President Obama’s cabinet picks in one week. The other three were held on the Friday and Monday surrounding that week.

There are only eight hearings scheduled for this week for the Trump’s cabinet, one is scheduled for next week, and many have not yet been scheduled.

President Obama’s confirmation hearing schedule is as good a model as any for “as quickly as possible”:

Jan 8, Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor

Jan 13, Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State

Jan 13, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Jan 13, Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy

Jan 13, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education

Jan 14, Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veteran Affairs

Jan 14, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture

Jan 15, Ken Salazar, Secretary of Interior

Jan 15, Janet Nepolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security

Jan 16, Eric Holder, Attorney General

Jan 21, Tim Geitner, Secretary of the Treasury

Jan 21, Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation

Of these nominees, six were confirmed on January 20 by voice vote. Nine had been confirmed by the end of the first week and all but two had been confirmed by the end of January. Eric Holder was confirmed as Attorney General on February 2, less than two weeks into Obama’s presidency. Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, was the final confirmation on February 24. President-Elect Trump’s cabinet deserves the same collegial treatment Senate Republicans gave to President Obama.

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