Should Rex Tillerson Show His Tax Returns? Congressional Leaders Splitting on Party Lines

WASHINGTON -- Top Senate Democrats are trying to put the brakes on President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet picks, insisting on extensive financial information on some of the wealthiest Americans before moving forward on nominations.Frustrated by the slow response of billionaires and multimillionaires to their request, 16 Democrats delivered an ultimatum Thursday, saying no committee should vote on a nominee until the individual has cleared an FBI background check, provided a financial report and an ethics agreement with the Office of Government Ethics, and responded to "reasonable requests for additional information" such as tax returns."The United States Senate has a rich, bipartisan tradition of vetting nominees to the president's Cabinet," said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the incoming Democratic leader. "We hope to continue that tradition with our colleagues in the Republican majority because the American people are entitled to a fair and open consideration process for all executive nominations."Republicans controlling the Senate, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, want to make quick work of Cabinet confirmations once Trump takes office on Jan. 20.Democrats have limited options to block nominees outright because they changed filibuster rules when they controlled the Senate in 2013, and Cabinet nominees can win approval on a simple majority vote. Republicans will hold a 52-48 advantage next year. However, Democrats could drag out the process in committee or force longer Senate debates than usual."President-elect Trump refused to release his tax returns and will start his presidency consumed by questions about how he could be using his position to enrich himself and his family, but that doesn't mean that his nominees should be held to the same low standards," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.Transition officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.  Continue reading...

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