‘The Senate is coming apart’ – By John Bresnahan and Burgess Everett 02/05/17 07:14 AM EST


Things have gotten so bad in the chamber lately that Chuck Schumer even voted against Mitch McConnell’s wife.

The seats for Democratic senators remain empty as a vote is held for Scott Pruitt's nomination to be administrator of the EPA during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Feb. 2. | Getty

The seats for Democratic senators remain empty as a vote is held for Scott Pruitt’s nomination to be administrator of the EPA during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Feb. 2. | Getty

Showdowns, government shutdown threats and “nuclear options” will loom over the chamber in the coming months. In fact, the tumultuous first month of President Donald Trump’s administration may turn out to be the most pleasant period of the 115th Congress.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Total GOP control of Washington should mean that Trump gets everything he wants out of Capitol Hill.

But Senate Democrats — the last line of Democratic defense — are slow-walking the installation of Trump’s Cabinet to a historic degree, so much so that Republicans haven’t even started yet on Trump’s legislative agenda. Republicans will eventually win all these confirmation battles, but it will be time-consuming and ugly.

How ugly has it gotten? Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer voted against the nomination of Elaine Chao for secretary of Transportation. Chao happens to be the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

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