Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo will emerge from hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday with an unfavorable recommendation, but his nomination will still advance to the Senate floor and will likely pass. All 10 of the Democrats on the committee, along with Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, have said they will vote against Pompeo’s nomination in the committee. But that won’t stop McConnell from bringing the nomination to the floor.
Absent a last-minute vote switch, that leaves Republicans unable to report his nomination favorably to the Senate floor, marking a historic setback for Trump.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, could then try to either report Pompeo to the full Senate with an unfavorable recommendation or with no recommendation. […]
Underscoring the growing partisanship over Trump’s picks, Democrats on the panel haven’t yet said if they would move Pompeo’s nomination to the floor even with an unfavorable recommendation.
If they don’t help move it to the floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could be forced to try to discharge Pompeo’s nomination from the committee — a move that could ultimately require 60 votes and potentially breaking a Democratic filibuster.
Paul’s opposition is complicating the messaging out of the White House, where they desperately want to blame this all on Democrats. A typically belligerent press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News, “At some point Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president.” Democrats and Rand Paul, that is. Trump got in on the act too, again demonstrating his basic lack of math skills with this tweet: “Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people […] Need more Republicans!”
A secretary of state nominee hasn’t failed in committee since the 1920s, and the last cabinet official to be confirmed after failing a committee vote was in 1945, with FDR’s appointment of Henry Wallace to be secretary of Commerce. It’s unclear right now how hard Democrats will fight the nomination coming to the floor, because two Democrats (North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin) have said they’ll vote to confirm Pompeo. That’s even after learning Pompeo has allowed his military service record to be exaggerated without ever correcting the misinformation. Many of his public bios said that he served in the first Gulf War, implying he saw active duty. He didn’t. He was in the army at the time, but not deployed.
Manchin’s and Heitkamp’s votes would likely be enough to put him over, because as of now only Rand Paul is opposing the nomination among Republicans.