Lack of senators at committee delays Trump health official vote

Democrats boycott votes on Trump cabinet picks
Democrats boycott votes on Trump cabinet picks

    JUST WATCHED

    Democrats boycott votes on Trump cabinet picks

MUST WATCH

Democrats boycott votes on Trump cabinet picks 05:00

Story highlights

  • The problem occurred when Chairman Orrin Hatch called a roll-call vote of the committee
  • Though confirmation is expected, the 9-9 vote delayed Seema Verma's advancement

Washington (CNN)The confirmation path for President Donald Trump's pick to head the powerful Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hit a minor snag Wednesday when not enough senators -- some from each party -- showed up at a Senate Finance Committee session to vote on sending her nomination to the Senate floor for a final vote.

Despite the snafu, Seema Verma is expected to be confirmed soon for the job that will give her major influence over changes to the Affordable Care Act, which are a top priority for Trump and the Republicans who lead Congress. But the committee will have to reconvene Thursday to complete its work.
The delay was unusual, and was seemingly unrelated to recent Democratic boycotts of committee votes on Trump nominees. In this case, Republicans contributed to problem by not showing up.
The problem occurred when Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called a roll-call vote of the committee. Several senators were absent but tried to have their votes recorded by "proxy" -- which is when one senator announces what the vote of a missing senator would be. The problem is, Senate rules prohibit proxy voting on nominations.
"Mr. Chairman, the tally of the members present is 9 ayes and 9 nays. The final tally, including proxies, is 15 ayes and 11 nays," a clerk said after the vote.
"Mr. Chairman, I was under the impression that proxies don't count," responded the committee's top Democrat, Ron Wyden of Oregon, who opposes Verma.
"Well, they don't," Hatch conceded.
"So, we're not declaring this the final vote," Wyden responded.
"No, this is not the final vote," Hatch said, with a sigh.
Verma has faced opposition from some Democrats, but at least one -- Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware -- voted for her.