The Senate voted Thursday afternoon to confirm a batch of 78 Trump administration nominees for various federal level agencies, departments and the Pentagon.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said shortly after voting concluded that he hoped Thursday’s bipartisan showing would mark the “way forward on confirming the nominees so our gov’t can be fully staffed.” McConnell’s message was somewhat echoed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said that members of Congress have a “strong desire to move past the health care debate,” and are more than willing to “work together to pass legislation.”
Leading into Thursday’s votes, the Senate had only confirmed just over 20 percent of nominees since President Donald Trump took office in January. The president has been critical of Senate Democrats, calling them “OBSTRUCTIONISTS” and criticizing them for taking “forever” to approve his nominations.
The Senate’s vote comes one week to the day that Republicans 6-month long campaign to repeal and replace Obamacare ended on the Senate floor in a contentious 51-49 vote. (RELATED: Dems Hint They Are Willing To Work With Republicans On Tax Reform)
Even with control of the House, Senate and the White House, Trump and Republican leadership have found it difficult to score a major legislative victory during the president’s first 7 months in office. The failure to pass a bill to overhaul Obamacare stemmed from infighting between moderate and conservative Republicans and from unanimous opposition from Democrats who supported former President Barack Obama’s landmark legislative achievement.
Senate Democrats, led by Schumer, also signaled a willingness Tuesday to work with Republicans on tax reform, provided it includes a few key concessions to the party’s platform.
Forty-three Democrats and two Independent senators sent President Donald Trump a letter Monday expressing their willingness to work with the administration and Republicans on passing tax reform. The Democrats are asking in exchange for their bipartisanship that the tax reform package not cut taxes on the wealthy, increase the federal deficit, or allow the Republicans to pass the legislation without Democratic support.
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