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Trump’s White House budget chief pick gains key Senate backer

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s choice of Representative Mick Mulvaney to become White House budget director on Wednesday appeared to pick up enough Republican votes to vault him into the job.

Republican Senator Thad Cochran, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, informed his staff that he intends to support Mulvaney’s confirmation, according to an aide. Earlier in the day an aide said Cochran had not yet decided whether to vote for Mulvaney.

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With Republican Senator John McCain announcing on the Senate floor that he would oppose Mulvaney, Cochran was seen as the potential 51st vote needed in the 100-member chamber for confirmation.

McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee that oversees defense programs, blasted Mulvaney in a Senate floor speech, saying the nominee had pursued “reckless budget strategies” that led to a partial government shutdown in 2013.

McCain also lashed out at Mulvaney’s efforts on military affairs, including a vote in 2011 that the Arizona senator said would have brought the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, ending a mission to prevent it from “becoming a safe haven for terrorists.”

Without Cochran, Vice President Mike Pence would have been thrust into the spotlight and likely called upon to break a likely 50-50 tie that threatened to doom Mulvaney’s nomination.

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Pence was needed to break such a tie over Betsy DeVos to be education secretary.

Some Senate Republicans have been worried Mulvaney might not go along with beefing up spending on military programs.

A Senate vote on Mulvaney, a leading member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who represents a region of South Carolina, was expected on Thursday at 7 a.m. (1200 GMT).

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Any one of the 100 senators could still change their position on Mulvaney before the vote, but there were no fresh signs of that happening following Cochran’s decision. A Senate panel only narrowly backed the nominee this month in a party-line vote.

Republicans have 52 of the 100 Senate seats and are able to approve Trump’s nominees if they can hold together a majority.

Democrats have criticized Mulvaney for taking a hard line on popular social programs and for not paying more than $15,000 in taxes in relation to a household employee until after he was nominated.

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He has said he favors raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 and means-testing beneficiaries of the Medicare health care program. These positions have drawn the ire of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats and sought the party’s presidential nomination in 2016.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and James Dalgleish)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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