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After Prodding, Republicans Slowing Down Cabinet Confirmation Process

Democrats are taking credit for the delay of two confirmation hearings of President-elect Donald Trump's nominees. They postponement comes after Democ
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y., flanked by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., left, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, to discuss the nomination of Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. to become Health and Human Services secretary. (AP Photo/Zach Gibson)Zach Gibson / AP

Democrats are taking credit for the delay of several confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's nominees after days of public calls to slow down the process for some nominees.

Four confirmation hearings have been delayed, drastically scaling down a busy week that was originally supposed to include ten confirmation hearings, after negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to a Democratic Senate aide.

Schumer and other Democrats have complained that required financial paperwork has not been completed and submitted to the Office of Government Ethics and that FBI background checks have not been completed for some of the nominees.

“This new hearing schedule is a very good first step but we still have a ways to go,” said Schumer in a statement.

The hearing for billionaire businesswoman Betsy DeVos to be Education Secretary was originally scheduled to begin Wednesday but has been postponed until Jan. 17. The confirmation hearing for Rep. Mike Pompeo to be director of the CIA has been delayed from Wednesday to Thursday. And the hearing of billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to be Commerce Secretary was rescheduled from Thursday to Wednesday, Jan. 18.

Related: Confirmation Hearings Highlight Pitfalls for Trump

In addition, Andrew Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants who is nominated to be Labor Secretary, was tentatively scheduled for Thursday but will now be pushed back to as late as next month.

The hearing was originally postponed until January 17 at the request of Republican leadership, per a Senate aide. But because DeVos's hearing, which will also go through the Senate HELP committee, was rescheduled for January 17, the Puzder hearing had to be moved again. An aide to the HELP committee now says that the hearing may not be held until February "because of the complicated Senate calendar in January."

Puzder has come under fire from Democrats because of his opposition to the minimum wage and his views about the treatment of workers.

Puzder's required paperwork for the government ethics office is also incomplete.

Trump’s “proposed cabinet is unlike any other in terms of its wealth, corporate connections and hard right ideological views, and the American people deserve nothing less than open and deliberate hearings going forward,” Schumer said.

One other nominees who are scheduled to have committee hearings Thursday – Ben Carson to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development – has not completed their paperwork for the Office of Government Ethics, which could impact his hearing schedule, according to a Democratic aide.

The head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, sent a letter to Schumer over the weekend calling the lack of paperwork by nominees unprecedented.

Because they are in the minority, Democrats have no ability to block the hearings outright, but their public pressure campaign seems to have helped to slow the process.

McConnell is hoping to have seven of Trump’s nominees confirmed by Trump’s first day in office on January 20. He said on Sunday that Democrats should “grow up” and drop their “little procedural complaints.”

Here's the updated list of confirmation hearings over the next few days:

January 10

Attorney General -- Sen. Jeff Session, R-Alabama: His confirmation hearing is currently underway. He is a colleague of the senators who will vote on his confirmation but his conservative positions on immigration, LGBTQ issues and voting rights could complicate his confirmation hearings.

Homeland Security Secretary -- retired Marine Corp General John Kelly: Kelly will be questioned beginning Tuesday afternoon about Trump's proposed Muslim ban and border wall with Mexico.

January 11

Secretary of State -- ExxonMobile CEO Rex Tillerson: Tillerson's ties to Russia will be a hot topic and Democrats want his complete tax returns.

Transportation Secretary -- Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Labor: Will be instrumental in Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan and as a past member of President George W. Bush's cabinet is unlikely to draw much real opposition.

(continued) Attorney General -- Sen. Jeff Session, R-Alabama

January 12

Housing and Urban Development Secretary -- Ben Carson, surgeon: The former Republican presidential candidate was an early supporter of Trump after his own bid failed but he has no experience managing a large organization.

Defense Secretary -- retired Marine Corp General James Mattis: Well-liked and will likely be easily confirmed.

CIA Director -- Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas: Will be asked about Trump's views on the intelligence community.