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Sen. Carper calls Trump cabinet confirmation hearings "rushed"

Delaware Public Media

Sen. Tom Carper  (D-Delaware) isn’t happy with the whirlwind of confirmation hearings scheduled for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees.

Republican Senate leadership has scheduled hearings for nine of Trump’s nominees this week, including his picks for Secretaries of State, Defense and Education - as well as CIA Director and Attorney General.  It's scheduled to start Tuesday with Trump’s choices for Attorney General, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, and Homeland Security secretary, Gen. John F. Kelly

Carper says they’re are trying to rush these hearings through.

It reminds you a little of the folks at the airport, the TSA.  You know people coming through, they want to get through fast and get on their plane.  But at the same time, we don’t want someone to get on a plane that’s going to cause mischief," said Carper in and interview with Delaware Public Media Monday. "So here, we’ve got the Republicans and they want to get their nominees through fast and get in the show on the road, But at the same time we want to make sure that people how have absolutely have no business serving in these positions do not.

Delaware's senior Senator complains the timetable offers little time to fully examine these nominees’ and ask the questions necessary to determine their qualifications.

He’s also concerned FBI background checks and ethics reviews won’t be completed to find potential issues or conflicts of interest.

“We don’t do these nominees or the incoming administration a favor by finding a week after these new folks take their jobs ‘Oh my God, look at this.’  Then, they’re crippled right from the start," said Carper.  "Far better to find out if there’s some problems, some skeletons, some things that need to be addressed, some holdings that needed to be sold or put into trust and deal with them before they put their hand up to take the oath.”

The director of the Office of Government Ethics expressed concern late last week about going forward with many of them where the nominees have not completed a required ethics review.  

And Delaware’s junior senator, Chris Coons (D-Delaware) last week worried about holding hearings concurrent with consideration of a budget resolution and proposed amendments to it.  That time-consuming “vote-o-rama,” which has implications for repealing Obamacare, is likely to happen Wednesday when up to five confirmation hearings are on the docket.

Carper says if slowing things down means some nominees are not in place until the end of the month “so be it.”

He adds he sees about 8 Trump nominees as “troublesome,” ranging from “not so good” to “downright awful.”  He's specifically expressed "grave concerns" about Trump’s choice to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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