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Tight votes expected this week for DeVos, Sessions confirmations

Betsy DeVos (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats may not be able to block any of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks, but this week they will continue to lean on every procedural maneuver available to delay and debate some of the President’s more controversial nominations.

Senators are expected to vote Tuesday on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for education secretary. She is expected to be confirmed, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. All 48 members of the Democratic caucus and two Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins — oppose DeVos, but Pence would give Republicans the one extra vote they need.

Later in the week, a final confirmation vote could come for attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican.

Why after DeVos? Because Sessions is still needed in the Senate to vote for DeVos and Republicans don’t want to chance any delay in Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley filling Sessions’ seat, which could leave DeVos in the lurch.

Also in the queue for confirmation votes after DeVos and Sessions are Office of Management and Budget nominee Mick Mulvaney, Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price, and EPA administrator nominee Scott Pruitt.

Democratic activists are continuing to flood senators with phone calls opposing the picks and more questions arise — particularly on Price’s purchasing of health stocks, as he authored legislation that would have benefited those health companies.

Democrats surprised their Republican colleagues last week when they walked out of committee votes — a stall tactic which caused delays but were later ran down the clock, but was ultimately overturned by Republicans through some maneuvering of their own.

“I think they’re just in full resistance mode. I don’t think they’re interested in talking,” said Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, of Democrats.

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