The Senate Confirmation Hearings

Senator Jeff Sessions
President-elect Trump will take office on Friday. A major part of any transition is the confirmation hearings, as people who are in charge of major organizations or groups must be confirmed. Advisors, such as the Chief of Staff, tend not to need to be confirmed. Among those to be confirmed are department heads such as Head of the National Security Council, Ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State, Agriculture, Education, and the list goes on. Every one of these people must be nominated by the President-elect and then approved by the Senate. There are exactly 1,212 people who must be confirmed by the Senate before becoming a White House official.

Many of the hearings have taken place. Many candidates have been confirmed, including Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, and Ben Carson– one of the original 17 candidates in the Republican primary–  as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. More awaiting their hearings. Nikki Haley, Trump’s pick for US Ambassador to the UN, and Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, are up for confirmation in the next few days. There is speculation that Andy Pudzer, Trump’s choice for Labor Secretary, may not go in front of the Senate for his hearing until February because of time constraints.

The Republican Party has a small majority in the Senate, holding only 51 out of 100 seats.  It is possible, albeit unlikely, that some of President-elect Trump’s nominations will not go through. A couple of Republicans could decide to vote against the nominees. In the case of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence’s vote will break it. However, it is rare that these nominations do not go through, and it is likely that the majority, if not all, nominees will be confirmed.

(Copyright 2017 Gardner Coates)