Hope you all have been enjoying the holidays, and putting aside some of the stress about the incoming Trump administration.
The Senate’s been on holiday, too, but they’re back in session on Tuesday January 3rd, and will be busily holding committee hearings on Trump’s nominees so they can be confirmed by the full Senate soon after his inauguration on January 20th. Most of Obama’s original cabinet nominees were confirmed on the day of his inauguration in 2009, so if the past is any guide, there is little time to waste in influencing the process!
As a member of the Senate Intelligence and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committees, Collins will have the power to question–and even block from moving to the full Senate vote–a few key nominees:
- Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, who doesn’t seem to believe in the idea of secular public education.
- Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder, who doesn’t seem to believe in modern ideas of labor standards.
- Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price, who doesn’t seem to believe in Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security as we know them. (Apparently Collins’ committee won’t get to vote on Price since that’s the Finance committee’s job, but they will likely hold hearings of their own.)
In addition, Sen. Collins will also of course get to vote on all Trump cabinet nominees–as well as the hundreds of other administration roles that require Senate confirmation–in their final vote on the Senate floor, where 50 votes will be needed for confirmation.
Stopping a nomination once it makes it out of committee will be a tall order since it would require the full Democratic caucus plus Collins and two other Republicans to oppose a nominee, but it is far easier to stop a nomination in committee. If Collins joined the Democrats on the HELP committee in voting against DeVos or Puzder, the committee vote would be tied, likely killing the nomination.
If nothing else, our calls can persuade her to ask tougher questions in committee hearings, which could well have an impact on how the nominee is viewed in the eyes of the public.
So starting January 3rd, let’s get calling again! Pick whichever of the three above concern you the most, call to explain why you want Collins to vote against them. Feel free to also mention your support for the broader effort to get Collins to leave the Republican Party, but focus on the nominee since it’s where she’ll likely be most receptive to constituent concerns.
On a final note, there are signs that our campaign is already having an impact! Collins recently sat down with the Portland Press Herald to reassure constituents that she has concerns about Trump’s policies in a number of different areas. It’s unusual for her to take such a public stand with the media outside of an election year, and was most likely driven by constituent pressure from us and other like-minded Mainers. Keep up the good work, everyone!