AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine said Wednesday that he’ll oppose Tom Price and Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump’s picks respectively to lead the departments of Health and Human Services and the Treasury.
Mnuchin and Price are among the bevy of nominees from the Republican president expected to face final Senate votes soon.
The Senate voted 51-48 along party lines Wednesday evening to pass a procedural step in Price’s nomination, setting up a final confirmation vote for Friday morning.
The opposition from King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, was expected, since he made critical statements on them early in the nominating process. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, voted to pass the procedural step Wednesday evening but hasn’t said how she would vote on the Mnuchin and Price nominations.
Democrats have dug in on both. Price, a physician, has been criticized for his support of privatizing Medicare, strident opposition to the Affordable Care Act — which King supports — and financial ties to the medical industry.
In a prepared statement, King said after considering the nomination, he “concluded that he would not serve the best interests of Maine,” citing Price’s stances on the health care law and Medicare.
Democrats also have criticized Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund manager, for what they say were misleading statements he made during his confirmation hearing around his leadership of OneWest Bank, which Reuters connected in 2011 to a questionable mortgage practices.
King expressed concern that Mnuchin would undermine consumer safeguards put in place to protect small investors, saying while he’s “not reflexively opposed to the former CEO of a large financial institution heading the Treasury Department,” he found nothing in Mnuchin’s record indicating that he’d defend “hardworking families in Maine and across the country.”
Price and Mnuchin are the fifth and sixth Trump nominees opposed by King, after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Scott Pruitt and Mick Mulvaney, the president’s respective picks to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and budget office.