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Sessions Nomination Advances To Full Senate, Approved By Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees (all times local):11:25 a.m.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general after angry exchanges between Republicans and Democrats.

The 11-9 vote was along party lines. All the panel’s Democrats voted against the nomination.

The Alabama Republican is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate. Republicans have been strongly supportive of their colleague, arguing that he will follow the law and maintain traditional independence from President Donald Trump, if needed.

In this Nov. 29, 2016, file photo, Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is shown while meeting with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington.© Molly Riley In this Nov. 29, 2016, file photo, Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is shown while meeting with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

 

Democrats have expressed doubts that he would be able to say no to the president since he was one of his earliest and strongest defenders in the presidential campaign.

They also expressed concerns about whether Sessions would be committed to civil rights, a chief priority of the Obama administration.

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11:10 a.m.

Tempers flared in the usually decorous Senate as the Judiciary Committee weighed a vote on attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions.

Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas traded charges on Wednesday over previous committee testimony.

Franken said he wanted to set the record straight and complained that his integrity had been abused.

Cornyn interrupted Franken as Republicans tried to move ahead and vote on the nominee.

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10:50 a.m.

The top Democrat on a Senate panel responsible for advancing President Donald Trump’s pick to head the White House budget office says she needs time to examine the results of a routine FBI investigation before she can vote on Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s nomination.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says she gained access to Mulvaney’s FBI file just a half-hour before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee vote Wednesday morning. Mulvaney is a Missouri Republican tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The vote has been postponed by not rescheduled. Mulvaney faces a Budget panel vote on Thursday.

Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain is a critic of Mulvaney’s prior House votes on Pentagon spending, but he said after the hearing that he would have voted to advance Mulvaney.

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9:50 a.m.

A Senate committee has approved President Donald Trump’s picks for Health and Treasury secretaries after majority Republicans suspended the panel’s rules. The rule they suspended requires at least one Democrat to be present for votes. It was the latest escalation in partisan tensions in the new Congress.

The Senate Finance Committee approved Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Price to become Health secretary and financier Steve Mnuchin to be Treasury secretary by a pair of 14-0 votes.

Democrats boycotted the meeting, demanding time to ask more questions about both nominees. Democrats say there were unresolved questions about both nominees’ financial backgrounds.

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7 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state is headed toward Senate confirmation after several Democrats crossed party lines to back the former Exxon Mobil CEO.

The vote on Tillerson, scheduled for Wednesday, comes as tension builds among congressional Republicans and Democrats over Trump’s executive order on immigrants and refugees. The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, said the order would be a litmus test for Trump’s remaining Cabinet choices, and that any who refuse to reject the “horrible” new policy should be opposed.

But Democrats lack the numbers in the Senate to block Tillerson from becoming the nation’s chief diplomat. Republicans hold a four-seat advantage and during a procedural vote Monday on the nomination, Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia cast their ballots for Tillerson. They’re unlikely to change their minds.

AP

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Trump Expected To Sign Exceutive Orders On Immigration |The Republican News

 

By Julia Edwards Ainsley
President Donald Trump speaks                 © REUTERS/Yuri Gripas President Donald Trump speaks  

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign several executive orders on Wednesday restricting immigration from Syria and six other Middle Eastern or African countries, according to several congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter.

In addition to Syria, Trump’s orders are expected to temporarily restrict access to the United States for most refugees. Another order will block visas from being issued to Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified.

Trump’s restrictions on refugees are likely to include a multi-month ban on admissions from all countries until the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security can increase the intensity of the vetting process.

The Republican president was expected to sign the orders at the Washington headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, whose responsibilities include immigration and border security.

Read also: This is What Donald Trump Will Do Starting On Day One |The Republican News

On the campaign trail, Trump initially proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States to protect Americans from jihadist attacks. Many Trump supporters decried Democratic President Barack Obama’s decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States over fears that those fleeing the country’s civil war would carry out attacks.

Both Trump and his nominee for attorney general, U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, have since said they would focus the restrictions on countries whose emigres could pose a threat rather than placing a ban on people who follow a specific religion.

To block entry from the designated countries, Trump is likely to instruct the U.S. State Department to stop issuing visas to people from those nations, according to sources familiar with the visa process. He could also instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop any current visa holders from those countries from entering the United States.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that the State and Homeland Security departments would work on the vetting process once Trump’s nominee to head the State Department, Rex Tillerson, is installed.

Other measures may include directing all agencies to finish work on a biometric identification system for non-citizens entering and exiting the United States and a crackdown on immigrants fraudulently receiving government benefits, according to the congressional aides and immigration experts.

To restrict illegal immigration, Trump has promised to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and to deport illegal migrants living inside the United States. None of the orders to be signed Wednesday are expected to focus on those issues.

Trump is also expected to swear in his new secretary of homeland security, retired Marine General John Kelly, on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman

REUTERS

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