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GOP Changes Senate Rules To Block Democrat Boycott

| by Ray Brown

To avoid attempts by Senate Democrats to boycott President Donald Trump's cabinet picks, which are still at the committee stage, Senate Republicans simply changed the committee rules to get the president's picks to a full Senate vote.

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee had refused to vote on Treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin and Health and Human Services pick Republican Tom Price of Georgia, arguing that both nominees had given misleading information during their confirmation hearings.

So Republicans on the Finance Committee got together and changed the rules to allow a committee vote with members of only one party present.

"We took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues," said Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said that Democrats will still pursue "the facts."

"We made it clear yesterday that when we got answers to these questions, we’re ready to move ahead," Wyden said after Republicans changed the committee rules, according to The Hill. "We're going to keep pushing to get the facts."

"Both nominees have yet to answer important questions that impact the American people," committee Democrats wrote in a letter sent to Hatch Wednesday. "Further, we have significant concern that both Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Price gave inaccurate and misleading testimony and responses to questions to the Committee. These cabinet nominees should answer basic questions that the American people deserve answers to before moving forward."

Questions regarding Mnuchin come from a Columbus Dispatch report that said Mnuchin was "untruthful" when he said he did not engage in "robo-signing" practices while president of OneWest Bank.

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Robo-signing refers to a practice by mortgage companies wherein one employee signs foreclosure documents without reviewing it, as required by law.

"OneWest Bank did not 'robo-sign' documents," Mnuchin wrote in response to questions about his former bank's practices. "And as the only bank to successfully complete the Independent Foreclosure Review required by federal banking regulators to investigate allegations of 'robo-signing,' I am proud of our institution's extremely low error rate."

"The guy is just lying. There's no other way to say it," said Bill Faith, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, The Hill, Columbus Dispatch / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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