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 MerkleyPoll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick 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 BennetA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order MORE (Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampGreens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch Schumer: GOP plan to make Warren the face of Dems 'not going to work' MORE (N.D.), Tim KaineTim KaineA guide to the committees: Senate Mattis on rise in Trump administration Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (Va.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick CMS nominee breezes through confirmation hearing MORE (Fla.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDem senator asks for 'top to bottom' review of Syria policy A guide to the committees: Senate Mattis on rise in Trump administration MORE (N.H.), Jon TesterJon TesterPoll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate GOP loses top Senate contenders MORE (Montana), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSanders, not Trump, is the real working-class hero A guide to the committees: Senate Drug importation from other countries will save dollars and lives MORE (Minn.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsSenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senate Dem: Trump will hurt Gorsuch's confirmation by undermining judiciary MORE (Del.), Tom CarperTom CarperA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Warren: Trump's EPA pick the 'attorney general for Exxon' MORE (Del.), Mark WarnerMark WarnerTrump's pick for intel chief to get hearing next week A guide to the committees: Senate Report: Senate Intel Committee asks agencies to keep records related to Russian probe MORE (Va.), Angus KingAngus KingA guide to the committees: Senate Hopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (I-Maine) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinA guide to the committees: Senate Dem: Trump's China trademark looks like a quid pro quo Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (Calif.).