WASHINGTON U.S. Senate Democrats delayed the Senate Finance Committee’s vote on U.S. Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin on Monday so they could protest against President Donald Trump’s order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.
The panel will now vote on Mnuchin’s nomination on Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), Finance Committee Republican spokeswoman Julia Lawless said, calling Democrats’ objections to the scheduled Monday evening vote “irregular.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer organized a candlelight protest on the steps of the Capitol to take place on Monday evening.
“This delay will allow members to protest the president’s unconstitutional ban on Muslims entering the United States while voting on Mr. Mnuchin’s nomination little more than 12 hours later,” said Rachel McCleery, a spokesperson for Senate Finance Committee Democrats.
The move also could buy more time for some senators to reconsider their votes on Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive who later ran Southern California-based OneWest Bank.
Senator Ron Wyden, the panel’s ranking Democrat, has sharply criticized Mnuchin’s handling of thousands of foreclosures by OneWest after he led a group of investors to buy failed mortgage lender IndyMac at the height of the recent financial crisis.
Senator Mark Warner, another Democrat on the panel, on Monday announced he would vote against Mnuchin’s nomination.
“Throughout the confirmation process, Mr. Mnuchin has failed to adequately demonstrate that he will be a forceful advocate for innovative policies that will make the U.S. economy work better for the majority of Americans,” Warner said in a statement, adding that he is not convinced that Mnuchin would robustly enforce post-crisis financial services restrictions.
Republicans control a two-vote majority on the committee, so Democrats would need to persuade some Republicans to oppose Mnuchin to block the nomination.
Nevada Republican Dean Heller, who faces a re-election campaign in 2018, subjected Mnuchin to tough questioning on OneWest’s foreclosures in Nevada during his confirmation hearing. A Heller spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about the senator’s voting plans.
(Reporting by David Lawder; editing by Diane Craft and Tom Brown)