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No Shows: Unprecedented Dysfunction in Congress

Washington, D.C.- Senator Orrin Hatch has seen a lot of congressional battles over the decades he has served in the United States Congress. Hatch has been serving the country since 1977, and is the most senior Republican Senator. He is the longest-serving Republican in U.S. history.

Under the guidance of Hatch, Senate Republicans took an extraordinary step on Wednesday to move forward with two of President Donald Trump’s top Cabinet nominees after confronting a boycott from Democrats.

The Democrats boycotting these committee hearings are doing their constituents and the country a disservice with these childhood antics.
Sean Spicer

Republican lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee, the group overseeing the nominations of Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price, gathered for the second day in a row with Democrats on the committee refusing to show up.

Democrats also failed to show for President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency after the panel’s Democrats boycotted the meeting, saying that nominee Scott Pruitt doubts the science of climate change.

The dramatic and unprecedented moves could be the latest escalation of partisanship, as the two sides go to war over the candidates picked to fill President Trump’s cabinet.

After the committee hearing he is chairing, Senator Orrin Hatch said, “Never had anything like this happened in the past. There’s no excuse for what [Democrats] did yesterday, and no excuse for what they did today. They played a cheap political ploy, and they should be ashamed.”

The media spokesman for President Trump, Sean Spicer, echoed Hatch’s comments, “The Democrats boycotting these committee hearings are doing their constituents and the country a disservice with these childhood antics.”

Democrats have raised serious concerns about both Price and Mnuchin, arguing that the two nominees made misrepresentations in their testimonies before the Senate.

Before the hearing on Wednesday, Democrats sent a letter to the chairman requesting that the two nominees provide more information about their past investments and actions.

The committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden, released a statement calling Hatch’s move “deeply troubling.” The statement read, “Today, for the first time in history, the Senate Finance Committee broke the rules to push through on a partisan basis two nominees. Congressman Tom Price, whose stock trades call into question whether he will work in the public interest or his own, and the other, Steven Mnuchin, who appears to have misled the committee on his company’s foreclosure practices after the Great Recession.”

Hatch responded to new requests from Democrats with one line, “I don’t care what they want at this point.”

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