REGULATION/LEGISLATION

Democrats boycott Senate committee vote on Treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin
Steven Mnuchin

A Senate Finance Committee executive session scheduled to vote Tuesday on Steven Mnuchin as the next Treasury secretary was derailed when Democratic members boycotted the meeting. Their absence also derailed a vote on Tom Price as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who called the Democrats’ action unprecedented, said the vote will happen eventually, and then move to the full Senate.

“This is the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in my whole time in the United States Senate,” said Mr. Hatch, who has served in the Senate for 40 years, at the brief meeting. “We already know how they’re going to vote. They’re going to vote against these candidates. I think they ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots.”

Ranking committee member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., pledged in a statement to vote against both confirmations. “While the Trump White House spouts falsehoods, stokes fear and fires off executive orders, two of its top nominees have seriously misled the public about issues in their backgrounds. I cannot support nominees who treat disclosures like shell games and ethics laws like mere suggestions.”

During his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing before the committee, Mr. Mnuchin was questioned about nearly $100 million in assets not initially included in his financial disclosure statements, and his role in mortgage foreclosures while he ran OneWest Bank.

Mr. Mnuchin, who served as President Donald Trump’s national campaign finance chairman, is a former Goldman Sachs Group (GS) executive who formed hedge fund Dune Capital Management and served as CEO of OneWest Bank, which bought subprime lender IndyMac.