The Senate will end debate on Scott Pruitt’s nomination in about an hour, followed by a series of votes on the EPA nominee and on Commerce nominee Wilbur Ross.
First up at 12:30pm is a vote on Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley’s motion to delay the Pruitt nomination for 248 hours. This vote is expected to fail, as two Democrats- Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota- will vote with at least fifty Republicans for the nominee. Senator Susan Collins is against confirmation, but voted to invoke cloture and will likely oppose this measure as well.
Next up is the final confirmation vote. Collins voted to invoke cloture yesterday but is a no, and Arizona Senator John McCain will be absent for the vote. The same two Democrats we expect to oppose Merkley’s delay will vote for the nominee, bringing a final expected tally of 52-47 in favor.
Lastly, the Senate will vote on invoking cloture for the Wilbur Ross nomination. Mr Ross, President Trump’s pick to run the Commerce Department, had a smooth committee vote with full Democratic support, and when we ran his initial estimate, we had a tough time finding any real opposition.
However, new revelations about possible Russian connections will probably swing a few Democrats into the nay column.
We’ll keep an eye out for any further action on the Ryan Zinke (Interior), Ben Carson (HUD), and Rick Perry (Energy) nominations. The Senate is out next week for the President’s Day holiday.