It took a lot of repetition of my “only write about Congress” mantra to get through yesterday, as I’m sure most days of this administration will require. My advice to keep up with the grim machinations issuing forth from the White House is to find a blogger or a news site that covers it and stay on top of it every day. But for my own continuing policy education (as well as my sanity), I’m going to continue to concentrate exclusively on Congress.
Well… almost exclusively. I’m sure I’ll cave at some point.
But for now, there was really only one vote yesterday that bears noting, and it was the vote to invoke cloture on debate for Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. The motion (which required only 50 votes, since cabinet appointees cannot be held to a 60 vote threshold like legislation can) passed 56-43. I’ve updated the Senate Tracking page to reflect this.
Only 4 Democrats – two from deep red states (Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia); a swing state independent (Angus King of Maine) and a blue state moderate (Mark Warner of Virginia) voted with Republicans. Warner, Heitkamp, and King are now the only remaining Democrats to have voted with Trump on all six occasions so far.
I originally thought Tillerson may have trouble with his nomination, since Republicans like Marco Rubio engaged him in some pretty pointed questioning regarding his business dealings with Russia while he was CEO of Exxon. Of course, counting on Marco Rubio is a good way to end up disappointed, so here we are.
Tillerson’s final confirmation vote will probably come today or tomorrow. Voting for cloture does not necessarily mean that all the same people will vote for confirmation, which is why I’m tracking them as two separate votes.