The Senate on Thursday approved two more Cabinet nominees from President Donald Trump, ending an initial round of highly partisan nomination battles that featured extended delays from Democrats, as they were able to slow any Republican plans to quickly start work on the President’s legislative agenda in the Senate.
Finally approved after weeks of waiting were Ben Carson, who will be Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Rick Perry, who will lead the Energy Department.
Perry had once vowed to abolish the Energy Department, when he ran for President in 2012. Now he will be leading that agency.
Democrats had forced the Senate to use days and days of debate time under the rules, extending work on the Trump Cabinet for weeks, much to the frustration of Republicans and the President.
“It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country,” the President fumed on Twitter in early February, as he blamed “Obstruction by Democrats!”
Among the main positions that remain unfilled, the President has made his choices, but no hearings have yet been set either for Secretary of Labor or Secretary of Agriculture.
Mr. Trump’s choice for Director of National Intelligence, ex-Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) had his hearing earlier this week; a vote in the full Senate would seem likely later this month.
Democrats could have delayed the vote on Perry until late on Friday afternoon, allowed it to go forward about 24 hours earlier.
Four Cabinet nominees were approved by the Senate this week; in addition to Carson and Perry, the Senate okayed Wilbur Ross as Commerce Secretary and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) as Interior Secretary.
Zinke showed up for his first day of work today in an unusual way for Washington, D.C., as the fifth-generation native of Montana went down to the Park Police stables, and rode to the Interior Department on horseback.