Cabinet confirmation hearings: What to expect this week

With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration just 11 days away, a spate of his top Cabinet nominees are about to undergo their confirmation hearings in the Senate this week.

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With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration just 11 days away, a spate of his top Cabinet nominees are about to undergo their confirmation hearings in the Senate this week.

Congress can’t officially confirm Mr. Trump’s nominees until after he’s sworn in, but they can hold hearings to help expedite the process and get nominations ready for Inauguration Day — which is why this coming week has such a packed schedule of hearings.

Each nominee will first have a hearing with the Senate committee that has oversight responsibilities for his or her department. Once the committee holds a vote and approves the nominee, that candidate will be voted on by the full Senate.

Mr. Trump’s team has been criticized for the fact that five hearings are scheduled for Wednesday, the same day Mr. Trump is slated to hold his first news conference since his election. However, transition officials and congressional GOP leaders have said the packed schedule is the only way Mr. Trump will have Cabinet secretaries ready to go on day one of his administration.

The hearings will also begin amid concerns from Democrats that several of Mr. Trump’s nominees have not been fully vetted or have not completed their requisite paperwork. On Friday, the Office of Government Ethics expressed concern about the confirmation timeline in a letter to Democratic senators, saying that several of Mr. Trump’s nominees still have not been fully vetted. Democrats have called for more disclosure from the nominees, including tax returns.

Senate GOP leaders say the hearings will proceed as planned, and that all the nominees will receive the appropriate vetting in time for their hearings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that Republicans’ goal is to have at least seven Cabinet picks confirmed on  the day Mr. Trump is sworn in — the same number that President Obama had in 2009.

Here’s a cheat sheet from CBS News for when these confirmation hearings will take place and what to expect:

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