Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a copy of his own letter on Jan. 9, as both parties try to come to an agreement regarding presidential Cabinet nominations.
McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, originally sent the request to then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democratic senator from Nevada, following then-President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet nominations, reports The Hill. Schumer crossed out a few details and replaced them with updated information.
"In 2009, [McConnell] sent [Reid] a letter laying out his list of pre-requisites for time agreements on the floor for President Obama's nominees," Schumer said on the Senate floor, as Democrats and Republicans continued to disagree over confirmation requirements. "They are almost exactly what Democrats have requested."
The tension between Democrats and Republicans comes as the GOP prepares to confirm some of President-elect Donald Trump's nominations the week before he is sworn in on Jan. 20, though Democrats and a federal watchdog group have said that they are rushing through the process.
"It has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings," Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr. wrote in the letter, expressing "concern" that some of the presumptive Cabinet members had not yet passed a full ethics screening or submitted financial documents, according to CBS News.
McConnell's letter requested that Democrats complete FBI background checks, Office of Government Ethics office reviews, financial disclosure statements (including tax return information for some candidates) and committee questionnaires before Republicans would consider a confirmation vote. The letter also said that they would need the potential nominee to cooperate regarding a confirmation hearing, staff interviews, visits and any additional information requested of them.
"Our requests are eminently reasonable, shared by leaders of both parties," Schumer tweeted along with a copy of the edited letter on Jan. 9. "I'll return this letter to [the McConnell] with the same requests."
McConnell promised on Jan. 9 to properly screen each candidate "as they have been in the past" before confirming them.
"There will be additional requirements, honoring the traditions of the Senate, for judicial nominees," McConnell wrote in the 2009 letter. "These common sense standards and long standing practices will ensure that the Senate has had the opportunity to fairly review a nominee's record and to make an informed decision prior to a vote."