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Trump's Nominees Facing Active Opposition from Washington Senators

“I have deep concerns about his views on protecting Americans’ civil liberties and privacy.”

By Spencer Ricks January 24, 2017

Screen shot 2017 01 24 at 8.59.10 am kbkw57

U.S. senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. 

Washington senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray are not cutting President Donald Trump’s incoming administration any slack as Senate hearings of Trump’s appointees continue on Tuesday.

Murray and Cantwell are continuing to oppose Trump’s official nominees on all fronts. While the Senate voted 66 to 32 in favor of appointing Mike Pompeo as CIA director Monday night, Murray and Cantwell voted against his nomination because of fears Pompeo will threaten the privacy of Americans.

“I voted no on the confirmation of Congressman Pompeo because of his support for expanding domestic surveillance,” Cantwell said in a statement. “I have deep concerns about his views on protecting Americans’ civil liberties and privacy.”

Despite Cantwell and Murray voting against appointing the former Kansas congressman as CIA director, Pompeo will be the third of Trump’s nominees to be officially confirmed.

Also on Monday, Murray was one of 10 democratic senators who sent a letter to senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) requesting another hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education nominee, before the confirmation vote. Other signatures on the letter included senators Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.). 

As the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Murray is spearheading the fight against appointing DeVos. The official letter asking for additional questions for DeVos alleges Democrats on the committee were not given enough time to ask questions, especially about “companies she will continue to own that are directly impacted by the Department of Education.”

“This is not about politics; it should not be about partisanship,” Murray and the other Democrats wrote in the letter. “It should be about doing the work we were elected by our states to do to ask questions of nominees on behalf of the people we represent.”

Murray’s office in the District of Columbia has not yet responded to Seattle Met’s requests for comment on the letter.

Cantwell also sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday to voice her disapproval of his choice of Ajit Pai for chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Pai opposes the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules, which provides equal access to the Internet despite the provider.

“I am disappointed that your choice to guide the Commission is not a supporter of the FCC’s strong rules to protect an open Internet, putting at risk our robust Net Neutrality rules and the 3 million internet economy jobs it supports,” Cantwell said in the letter.

Senate hearings continue Tuesday with the hearings of Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, Elaine Chao for Transportation, governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) for UN ambassador, and Wilbur Ross for Commerce.

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