February 1, 2017 10:39 AM
The funny thing about rules is there’s more than one of them. Democrats again boycotted the Senate Finance Committee today leveraging a rule that says there’s not a quorum unless there’s a member of the minority party present. This was keen strategy to gum up the works and delay Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin’s cabinet nominations indefinitely. Or so they thought.
Johnny Isakson is a statesman in the Senate, and believes in working across the aisle and strictly adhering to Senate rules. But because there are many Senate rules, Isakson saw the Democrats use of parliamentary procedure and answered with his own. He motioned for unanimous consent to waive the rules, which, funny thing about that, is perfectly allowed under the rules. Since no Democrats bothered to show up, none were available to object.
As such, Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin can now claim to have the unanimous support of the Senate Finance Committee. Their nominations can now move on to a vote of the full Senate, which require only a majority to pass.
Senator Isakson’s statement is as follows:
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today voted to advance President Trump’s nominee, U.S. Representative Tom Price, M.D., R-Ga.-06, to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from the Senate Committee on Finance.
Senate Democrats had successfully blocked a committee vote on Price Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, by refusing to show up for the meeting. They again boycotted today’s Senate Finance Committee vote, but Isakson asked for unanimous consent to temporarily suspend committee rules requiring at least one senator from the minority party to attend for a vote to occur. All 14 Republican members of the committee voted in favor of Isakson’s motion and the rule was temporarily waived. Price was reported out of committee by a 14-0 margin.
Price’s nomination now heads to the full Senate for final vote of approval.
“With great confidence, I voted to move forward on Tom Price’s nomination. Our country is fortunate to have such a qualified nominee of Tom’s caliber and experience to lead our top health agency,” said Isakson. “Tom is a former practicing physician and a leader in Congress who has enjoyed bipartisan success. He is honest, trustworthy, and a family man and public servant who has worked to replace a failing health care law that is hurting Americans. Tom does not deserve the kind of obstruction and partisan political games that we’ve seen in recent weeks. I look forward to voting soon on the Senate floor to confirm this fine nominee.”
After the Democrats’ first boycott stunt on Tuesday, Isakson sharply addressed his colleagues in the Senate Finance Committee, saying the Democrats should do their job of casting an up-or-down vote.
Isakson introduced Price at his hearing before the Senate Committee on Finance on Jan. 24, 2017, as well as at Price’s first hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Jan. 18, 2017.
Isakson penned an op-ed in support of Price’s nomination to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that ran in USA Today on Jan. 25, 2017, titled “The Price is Right.”
Isakson also defended Price on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Jan. 17, 2017, regarding Price’s strong ethics and argued that Price’s credentials are unquestioned and that he is eminently qualified for the position to which he was nominated. Price is expected to play a large role in the replacement of former president Obama’s terribly flawed health care law in the months ahead.
Price’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, which Price has held since 2005, was previously held by Isakson.