Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) likely will not allow the Senate to consider the nomination of U.S. Trade Representative nominee Robert Lighthizer until the week of May 15 because of objections he is facing from his caucus to a request to move the nomination through unanimous consent, sources told Inside U.S. Trade.
[Jenny Leonard] May 4th, 2017 [Inside U.S. Trade]
At least one Republican senator is objecting to the unanimous consent request to proceed with Lighthizer’s confirmation, these sources said, although who is unclear. Under Senate rules, a unanimous consent request is rejected if any senator objects.
Absent unanimous consent to proceed to the nomination, McConnell would have to file two cloture votes, sources said: One on the motion to proceed to the consideration of the nominee and one to end debate on the nominee. Sources said McConnell has expressed unwillingness to spend that much floor time on Lighthizer’s nomination, citing other legislative agenda items of potentially higher priority.
Sources speculated that lawmakers representing agriculture states are the most likely to put holds on the nomination, especially after the Trump administration last week drafted an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA — a move that sparked outrage in the agriculture community.