Treasury pick Mnuchin set for committee vote

A Senate committee is expected to send Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin one step closer to confirmation Tuesday.

The Senate Finance Committee meets at 10 a.m. ET to consider Mnuchin’s nomination. Lawmakers are also set to weigh in on Tom Price, President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and Hollywood movie producer, would still need to be confirmed by the full Senate.

The committee vote had been scheduled Monday night. Democrats delayed it so they could attend a candlelight vigil protesting Trump’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

At a hearing Jan. 19, Democrats challenged Mnuchin about his leadership of the bank OneWest, which has been accused of aggressive foreclosures and discriminating against minority borrowers.

Mnuchin defended the bank, saying regulators were at fault for foreclosures on widows, military families and other homeowners during the Great Recession.

“Since I was first nominated to serve as Treasury secretary, I have been maligned as taking advantage of others’ hardships in order to earn a buck,” Mnuchin said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

He also said Congress should raise the federal government’s borrowing limit, known as the debt ceiling, “sooner rather than later.”

If he’s confirmed, Mnuchin will join four Cabinet nominees who have cleared committee and are awaiting full votes in the Senate: Rex Tillerson for secretary of state, Elaine Chao for transportation secretary, Ben Carson for housing secretary and Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary.

Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley were all confirmed in the first few days of Trump’s presidency.

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