Trump’s Cabinet Faces Senate Approval

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Boston Globe / Steven Dennis

Ashley Kang, Staff Writer

   Nine of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks will face Senate confirmation with hearings starting later this week.  The nine nominees awaiting Senate approval are: Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, Steven Mnuchin as Secretary of Treasury, Wilbur Ross as Secretary of Commerce, Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mick Mulvaney as Office of Management and Budget, Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor, Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.     

  Many Democrats believe that Trump’s picks represent conflicts of interests.  Secretary of State Tillerson was the head of Exxon Mobil, and has had 40 years of oil connections with Russia.  In addition, EPA administrator Pruitt has worked to dismantle the EPA and has denied climate change.  When asked about this controversy, Grace Petersen (11) said, “I think it’s ridiculous that someone who has denied man-made climate change is in the charge of an agency that is working to help the environment.  If you can’t even see the science behind global warming, I don’t think you are fit to make decisions for our planet’s future.”  

  Betsy DeVos is another candidate under scrutiny.  Despite her background in education, the billionaire has worked for decades to promote charter and private schools in Michigan.  According to The Boston Globe, DeVos’s nomination for Secretary of Education has been opposed by the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association.  When asked about DeVos’s career, Jonathan Hernandez (12) said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to have someone who champions private and charter schools.  It really doesn’t represent the bulk of American education, which is public schooling.  Her roles in Michigan only show that she is disconnected with the main education system here.”

  Despite Democrat protests to some controversial figures, all of Trump’s nominees are expected to win Senate approval.  The Republicans control the Senate with a slight majority (52-48), and the law requires a simply majority for any Cabinet confirmation.  Furthermore, the 60-vote threshold for approval of presidential nominees was overrode in 2013 by the Democratic Majority, after Senate Republicans refused to accept Obama’s nominations.  Many liberals believe that the 2013 ruling backfired on the now-minority Democrats.  However, Kally Mozell (11) believed that “Even though the law came back to hurt the Democrats, they can’t just overturn a law once it benefits Trump.” Thus, the law stands that even without a single Democrat vote, all nine of Trump’s picks could win approval of the Senate.

 Keep up with the news to see who becomes part of Donald Trump’s cabinet.