Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick

Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick
© Greg Nash
 
The Senate is moving forward with Wilbur Ross's nomination to lead the Commerce Department.
 
The chamber on Friday voted 66-31 in favor of cloture on Ross, setting up a confirmation vote later this month. Sixteen Democrats joined with all Republicans present in backing Ross, who needed a simple 51-vote majority to overcome Friday's procedural hurdle. 
 
Senators aren't expected to be able to finish his nomination before leaving town for the week-long President's Day recess. 
 
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McConnell tried to get a deal for a final vote on his nomination for Friday, but Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDem senator accuses Trump of 'dangerous tilt towards authoritarianism' Overnight Regulation: Dems punch back in fight over CEO pay rule Bernie Sanders, Menendez 'troubled' by delay of CEO pay rule MORE (D-Ore.) objected.
 
With Democrats able to drag out an extra 30 hours of debate, a final vote is expected as early as the evening Feb. 27.
 
Democrats raised fresh concerns about Ross’s nomination this week, questioning whether he has ties to Russia.
 
In a letter obtained by McClatchy, Dems questioned Ross's relationship with Viktor Vekselberg, a shareholder at a bank where Ross still sits on the board. 
 
Vekselberg is friends with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and was formally one of the directors of the Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft.
 
The Democrats who voted in favor of Ross were Sens. Michael BennetMichael BennetRNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight Colorado Dem at the center of Gorsuch confirmation fight Gorsuch sails on day one, but real test is Tuesday MORE (Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampRNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate Five things to watch for in Supreme Court showdown MORE (N.D.), Tim KaineTim KaineRNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight Lawmakers want Trump commitment to help Iraq post-ISIS Senate Dems introduce bill to rescind Trump border wall, immigration order MORE (Va.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonOvernight Tech: Senate moving to kill FCC's internet privacy rules | Bill Gates pushes for foreign aid | Verizon, AT&T pull Google ads | Q&A with IBM's VP for cyber threat intel RNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight Fallout from electronics ban worries travel advocates MORE (Fla.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Finance: US preps cases linking North Korea to Fed heist | GOP chair says Dodd-Frank a 2017 priority | Chamber pushes lawmakers on Trump's trade pick | Labor nominee faces Senate Lawmakers want Trump commitment to help Iraq post-ISIS Overnight Defense: FBI chief confirms Trump campaign, Russia probe | Senators push for Afghan visas | Problems persist at veterans' suicide hotline MORE (N.H.), Jon TesterJon TesterOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief urges Congress to approve budget boost | Senate fight over NATO addition Defense chief after Trump tweet: NATO doesn't track 'past money owed' Eye on 2018: Five special elections worth watching MORE (Montana), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLive coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Dems land few punches on Gorsuch Gorsuch: 'Of course women can be president' MORE (Minn.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsGorsuch sails on day one, but real test is Tuesday Live coverage: Supreme Court nominee hearings begin Senate Dems introduce bill to rescind Trump border wall, immigration order MORE (Del.), Tom CarperTom CarperOvernight Energy: Ethanol groups prep for fight over mandate Dems ask Pruitt to ‘correct the record’ on personal email use Senate Dems introduce bill to rescind Trump border wall, immigration order MORE (Del.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerOvernight Cybersecurity: House Intel chair says surveillance collected on Trump transition team Dem senator: House Intel chairman may have revealed classified info Dem senator wants Manafort to testify before Intelligence Committee MORE (Va.), Angus KingAngus KingGOP rep scolds Gillibrand for tearing into Marine general over nude-photo scandal This week: GOP works to corral votes on healthcare plan Maine senator: House GOP healthcare plan hammers my state MORE (I-Maine) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinGorsuch rewrites playbook for confirmation hearings Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Dems land few punches on Gorsuch MORE (Calif.).