Calling for swift confirmations, Trump deserves to have defense team in place on day one

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

When Donald Trump assumes the presidency on January 20, he will inherit a wide varie`ty of challenges at home and abroad.

In recent years, America has lost ground with our allies, and our enemies have been emboldened by a lack of resolve. The price of health insurance continues to rise, leaving people with fewer choices for coverage. Despite recent good news that consumers and small businesses are showing more confidence in the economy, millions of Americans still can’t find work. For those fortunate enough to have a job, weak economic growth has led to stagnant wages.

Last November, voters chose to shake up that status quo by electing a unified government to represent them in Washington. Regardless of political affiliation, I believe we can all agree that more needs to be done to revitalize the economy, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and restore the rule of law.

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One of the first steps in attaining those goals is to equip President Trump with a Cabinet in place immediately upon taking office.

New President Should Hit the Ground Running

In our system of checks and balances, the Senate plays an important constitutional role in confirming presidential appointments under the “advise and consent” clause. Historically the Senate has given deference to new presidents in choosing their team.

When Barack Obama became President in 2009, seven of his cabinet picks were confirmed by the Senate the day he was sworn in. Five more were confirmed by the end of his first week. Nearly all of these appointments were approved unanimously.

I am hopeful that the Senate can avoid needless procedural delays that would deny President-elect Trump the ability to hit the ground running on Day One, particularly with his national security team. I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure a smooth confirmation process.

Mattis and Sessions Are Ideal Cabinet Picks

President-elect Trump has chosen well-qualified individuals to lead the various executive departments and agencies.

This holds true with his choice of former Marine Corps General James Mattis to lead the Defense Department. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I met with Gen. Mattis in advance of his nomination hearing. His extensive knowledge on military strategy and foreign policy will serve our troops and our national security interests well.

I also support Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., to be the next Attorney General. He has been a steadfast champion for the Constitution and the rule of law.

He will provide sound counsel when it becomes time to select Supreme Court nominees and other judicial appointments. I believe he will enforce our nation’s immigration laws, safeguard our Second Amendment rights, and protect religious liberties.

Our next President has promised to change the way the federal government does business on the executive level at agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education. His choices for Cabinet speak loud and clear about the direction he intends to take.

The Senate should confirm his nominees in quick order so that we can move forward with the people’s business.

By U.S. Senator Roger Wicker