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Here's what it will take to actually confirm Trump's Cabinet picks

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Here's what it will take to actually confirm Trump's Cabinet picks

Donald Trump is rolling through nominations for Cabinet positions in his administration, but his picks wont get to start working right away. The Senate gets the final say on who joins the Cabinet. Here's how the Senate confirms a Cabinet nomination. 

Committee hearings 

Once a president has fully vetted a nominee, they give that nomination to the relevant Senate committee. So Trump's nomination for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, would go to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. 

The committee can then hold hearings to quiz the nominee on his or her qualifications and ask about what issues they plan to address. Then the committee will vote to move the nomination to the full Senate for confirmation, or they can stall and keep it in committee. 

Getting the nomination to the Senate floor

After hearings, the committee will vote to report the nomination to the full Senate. They can report the nomination with or without recommendations. 

If the committee votes no, or stalls on the nomination, the full Senate can vote to move the nomination out of committee and on to the floor for a confirmation vote. Then it just takes a simple majority (51 votes) to confirm the nominee. 

Democrats outnumbered

But a simple majority is a problem for Democrats right now who aren't happy about some of Trump's nominations because Republicans already have 52 seats in the Senate. 

But they got themselves in this bind. It used to take 60 votes to confirm a nomination, but in 2013, Democrats changed the Senate rules to make it harder for Republicans -- who were then in the minority -- to derail nominations. 

Senate Democrats are gearing up for battle over some of the nominations. 

Voting for themselves

When a president nominates a senator for a cabinet position, as is the case with Sessions, the senator gets to vote for their own confirmation. 

When then-Sen. John Kerry got to vote for his confirmation for Secretary of State, he voted "present."

It can take a while... 

Sometimes a nominee is confirmed quickly, but sometimes a nomination is held up for months. President Obama famously quipped that the Senate took longer to confirm Attorney General Loretta Lynch than they did for the previous seven attorneys general combined. 

It took over a year for the Senate to confirm Richard Cordray's nomination for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to the Senate Historical Office. 

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