01 Feb 2017 – Republicans change rules so Democrats can’t block controversial Trump Cabinet picks

The Senate committee has approved President Donald Trump’s picks for Health and Treasury secretaries after majority Republicans suspended the panel’s rules.

Republicans faced a second day of sitting in a half-empty hearing chamber as Democrats launched a boycott of Mr Trump’s cabinet nominees. The rule they suspended required at least one Democrat to be present for votes, amid the escalation in partisan tensions in the new Congress.

“We took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues,” said Senate Finance Committee chair Orrin Hatch. “As I noted earlier, the Senate Finance Committee has traditionally been able to function in even the most divisive political environments. That all changed yesterday.”

The Independent