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Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch charged Democrats with acting "like idiots" on Tuesday as they boycotted a Senate Finance Committee hearing in order to block a vote on two of President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees.
"I think they ought to stop posturing and acting like idiots," Hatch told reporters after the committee's Democrats skipped a vote to push the nominees to the full Senate, a move that denied a quorum required to proceed.
"I'm really tired of this type of crap," Hatch said as Republican senators sat down Tuesday morning only to be greeted by an empty Democrat side of the room. "I mean, my goodness, there's no excuse for it."
Democrats have argued that Tom Price, Trump's pick to head the Health and Human Services Department, and Steven Mnuchin, nominated to run the Treasury Department, misled the committee in their testimony.
"We have great concern that Senator Hatch is asking us to vote on two nominees today who have out-and-out lied to our committee," Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said at a news conference.
The Columbus Dispatch reported last weekend that Mnuchin misled the committee by testifying that WestOne Bank, which he led, did not engage in the questionable practice of "robo-signing" mortgage documents. The newspaper said its analysis revealed frequent use of the practice.
Hatch, who chairs the Finance Committee, said he was "really disappointed" in his Democratic colleagues and that the two nominees are going through "regardless."
"They really shouldn't treat dignified people who are willing to sacrifice and serve in the government this way," Hatch said of Price and Mnuchin.
Hatch, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had stood in lockstep with fellow Republicans last year in blocking then-President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, even denying the appeals court judge a hearing. Republicans argued for months that the next president should get to pick the high court replacement for the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. The appointment of Garland, whom Hatch had praised, was held up for nine months until it expired at the end of Obama's second term.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., blasted the Democrat's "rank, partisan obstructionism that is totally inappropriate."
Hatch said he would reschedule the committee's confirmation votes.