Schumer Sends GOP's Own '09 Letter Back to Mitch McConnell

Says Democrats are prepared to delay Cabinet nominee confirmation hearings
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2017 8:47 PM CST
Senate Minority Leader-elect Chuck Schumer of NY speaks during an interview with the AP in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – In 2009, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter asking that President Obama's Cabinet nominees not be granted Senate confirmation hearings until the Office of Government Ethics and the FBI had vetted them and other ethical review steps had been taken. On Monday, current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent the same letter back to McConnell, after writing "Mitch" in the recipient field and crossing out Reid, the original recipient—CBS has a picture. Schumer also read the letter out loud on the Senate floor, as a warning to Republicans that, now that the Democrats are the underdogs, they're willing to take the same steps Republicans did years ago to slow down confirmation hearings, Politico reports.

The request comes days after the Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to Senate Democrats airing concerns that Republicans are pushing through the confirmation process—nine of Trump's Cabinet nominees have confirmation hearings scheduled this week, even though the OGE has not released ethics reviews yet for four of them. "To spend an extra day or two on each nominee; even if it takes several weeks to get through them all in order to carefully consider their nominations ... that’s well worth it," Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday. "I only ask respectfully that the Republican majority follow the same set of standards they had in 2009 when the shoe was on the other foot. Especially because these nominees raise particular concerns." McConnell on Sunday pooh-poohed the OGE's concerns. (Read more Charles Schumer stories.)

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