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 MerkleyThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Dem senator accuses Trump of 'dangerous tilt towards authoritarianism' Overnight Regulation: Dems punch back in fight over 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 BennetThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Senators introduce new Iran sanctions RNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight MORE (Colo.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease Lawmakers share photos of their dogs in honor of National Puppy Day Senators war over Wall Street during hearing for Trump's SEC pick MORE (N.D.), Tim KaineTim KaineSenators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal RNC drops six-figure ad buy for Supreme Court, healthcare fight Lawmakers want Trump commitment to help Iraq post-ISIS MORE (Va.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonOvernight Tech: Senate votes to eliminate Obama internet privacy rules | FCC chief wants to stay out of 'political debate' on fake news | Wikileaks reveals new CIA docs FCC chairman: Whether NY Times, CNN, NBC are 'fake news' is a ‘political debate’ Senators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal MORE (Fla.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease Senators demand Pentagon action after nude photo scandal Senate Dems: We won't help pass additional health bills MORE (N.H.), Jon TesterJon TesterThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Overnight 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' MORE (Montana), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharFCC: Over 12,000 callers couldn’t reach 911 during AT&T outage Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Dems land few punches on Gorsuch MORE (Minn.), Chris CoonsChris CoonsSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Gorsuch sails on day one, but real test is Tuesday Live coverage: Supreme Court nominee hearings begin 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 WarnerSenate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers Overnight Cybersecurity: House Intel chair says surveillance collected on Trump transition team Dem senator: House Intel chairman may have revealed classified info MORE (Va.), Angus KingAngus KingSenate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers GOP rep scolds Gillibrand for tearing into Marine general over nude-photo scandal This week: GOP works to corral votes on healthcare plan MORE (I-Maine) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinHuman rights leaders warn against confirming Gorsuch Feinstein sees slipping support among California voters: poll Schumer a no on Gorsuch, will urge Dems to oppose MORE (Calif.).