Last year, a Pol.SE question asked How would a minority party in the Senate be able to delay the appointment of the President-elect's cabinet?

The top answers said they can't, because the Republicans can force cloture with a simple majority.

And yet it doesn't move. Regardless of Trump's failure to nominate candidates for numerous positions, 2/3rds of his nominees (84 out of 126 as of mid June) haven't reached the Senate floor.

What procedures or actions are delaying these confirmation votes?

  • 3
    quantitative & detailed source added.
    – Foo Bar
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 11:54
  • 2
    Also note that having the majority isn't a guarantee either...at least in theory, party members don't necessarily agree with 100% of the president's nominees.
    – user1530
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 18:44

2 Answers 2


Basically, most of Trump's nominees are still awaiting to clear the respective Senate committees.

As seen from The Washington Post graphic that you cited, most of the nominees are only referred to the respective Senate committee in May, which is just a month ago.

Nominations must be formally submitted to the relevant Senate committee before a vote in the Senate can take place. Thus, by just announcing nominees and not formally nominating them, they cannot be confirmed by the Senate.

As this article by Politico mentions, the administration didn't file the necessary paperwork for many of the nominees to make the nominations formal.

President Donald Trump is lashing out at Democrats for allegedly stalling his appointments and agenda, but it’s his own administration that is frequently sitting on the necessary paperwork for nominees.

However, there are also other reasons for the delay. Firstly, it may be delayed by the Office of Government Ethics as they can't review the nominees' financial reports until the administration submits them. The administration has been slow to send the nominees' financial information to the OGE, according to an OGE spokesman.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the third-ranking Senate Republican, said some nominations may have been bottlenecked at the Office of Government Ethics, which helps hash out ethics agreements for government appointees.

But an OGE spokesman suggested the White House has been slow to send them nominees’ financial information. “OGE can't review reports until we receive them,” a spokesman said. “Once we have received them, OGE has been moving these reports faster than we did in the 2009 transition.”

Also, even though Democrats cannot reject nominees as they do not have the votes to do so, they are able to delay the nomination process, as mentioned in the same article:

Once the nominations hit the Senate, many face political hurdles. Although Democrats can no longer defeat nominees through the filibuster, they are still pulling all the procedural levers they can to extract key concessions from the administration. One example is the nomination of Sigal Mandelker, a top Treasury Department official, which Democrats have held up to try to obtain documents involving Russia’s financial dealings with Trump associates.


Even as the minority party, the Democrats have been delaying a lot of appointments by requiring 30 hours of debate after a cloture vote. This can only delay a particular appointment by those 30 hours. But, given that there are hundreds of positions to be filled, the cumulative effect has slowed down the overall rate of confirmations to a great degree. The combination of a slow rate of nominations and these delaying tactics has led to a lot of unfilled positions, even today.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .