Senate Democrats boycott vote on HHS nominee Rep. Tom Price

Senate Democrats did not show up to vote Tuesday morning to confirm HHS secretary nominee Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-Ga., during the finance committee hearing.

The committee was poised to vote on Rep. Price and Steven Mnuchin, former partner at Goldman Sachs and hedge fund manager, for the top spot in the Treasury Department.

"I'm really disappointed they are boycotting this consideration of Steven Mnuchin to be secretary of treasury and Rep. Tom Price, one of the members of our Congress, for secretary of HHS," Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said at the hearing. "We ought to be proud of him. We ought to be willing to support a man of integrity, which he is. Assuming that they can't support these two, then they can vote against them. That's really what an honest approach to this matter would be."

Senate Democrats may have boycotted the vote due to doubts about Rep. Price's ethics and his views on healthcare reform. He was grilled on these topics during two hearings in the Senate health and finance committees. Yesterday The Wall Street Journal published a report alleging Rep. Price falsely testified during these hearings that he fairly bought stock in biomedical company Innate Immunotherapeutics. The company told WSJ Rep. Price had a privileged, discounted offer.

However, this was not enough to prevent Republican senators from showing up to vote. "I think some of this is because they just don't like the president," Sen. Hatch said. While it is their right not to like President Donald Trump, Sen. Hatch said, "They really shouldn't treat dignified people who are willing to sacrifice to serve in the government this way."

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., noted some members of the Senate Finance Committee may also be on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which was slated to vote simultaneously this morning on Betsey DeVos for secretary of the Department of Education. He planned to leave the finance hearing to see if Democrats were also boycotting that vote, he said.

"We are going to do this again throughout the day and see if [the Democrats] will come and do the job that they've been elected and sworn to do," Sen. Hatch said." I'm very disappointed in this type of crap. I mean, my God, there is no excuse for it."

 

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