The Latest: Hearing for Trump's labor pick postponed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on activities in Congress: (All times EST): 12:19 p.m. The confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder to be Donald Trump's labor secretary is being postponed. That's according to an aide to the Senate committee that will hold the hearing. The aide told The Associated...

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on activities in Congress: (All times EST):

12:19 p.m.

The confirmation hearing for Andrew Puzder to be Donald Trump's labor secretary is being postponed. That's according to an aide to the Senate committee that will hold the hearing.

The aide told The Associated Press Tuesday that Puzder's hearings may not happen until next month.

The delay occurred after Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for education secretary, whose confirmation hearing will be before the same committee, raised concerns because she hadn't finalized her financial and ethics disclosures. Her hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions was postponed to Tuesday, Jan. 17 — the same day Puzder was to be considered.

The aide spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity about plans that hadn't yet been made public.

—By AP Writer Laurie Kellman


12:12 p.m.

Democratic legislators and labor union representatives are intensifying their opposition to President-elect Donald Trump's choice for education secretary

Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin called GOP mega-donor Betsy DeVos one "of the most unqualified and ideologically extreme individuals ever considered for the job."

Pocan said Tuesday that DeVos lacks experience in public education, the promotion of school voucher programs and funding of groups.

Added American Federation of Teachers President Randy Weingarten, "There is one thing you cannot do and that is taking a wrecking ball to public education."

The DeVos confirmation has been postponed by a week amid concerns that she hasn't finalized her financial and ethics disclosures.


11:28 a.m.

A high school student's painting that portrays the events in Ferguson, Missouri, is back on the wall on Capitol Hill.

Democratic congressman William Lacy Clay rehung the painting on Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker had removed it because he found it offensive. The painting depicts a pig in a police uniform aiming a gun at a protester among several images.

Clay said returning the painting was about defending the Constitution. The Missouri congressman said it is "pathetic" that some Republicans constantly refer to themselves as constitutional conservatives, but don't think the same document protects the free speech rights of his 18-year-old constituent.

David Pulphus won an annual arts competition in Clay's congressional district. His picture portrays events in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of an unarmed teenager set off protests.

California Rep. Duncan Hunter removed the painting last Friday and says GOP leaders will seek its permanent removal by the House architect.


10:56 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says Republicans will try to repeal and replace the health care law "concurrently."

The speaker's comments Tuesday come amid growing GOP anxiety over plans to repeal President Barack Obama's signature law without having an alternative in hand.

Ryan tells reporters that "it is our goal to bring it all together concurrently."

Doing so is a challenge because of complicated rules in the Senate that allow Republicans to push through a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without Democratic votes — but may require Democrats to go along with replacing the health law.

Ryan indicates Republicans will try to use fast-track budget rules in the Senate for elements of the replacement plan, too, adding: "we're going to use every tool at our disposal."


10:52 a.m.

A senior Democratic lawmaker is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether President-elect Donald Trump's pick for the nation's top health job engaged in any insider training.

New York congresswoman Louise Slaughter said in a Jan. 9 letter to the SEC that she is not prejudging the actions of Rep. Tom Price of Georgia. But she added that Price's market trades "clearly raise the appearance of a potential violation of the public trust."

Trump has picked Price to head the Department for Health and Human Services.

The Trump transition team has said that Price "complied fully with all applicable laws and ethics rules governing his personal finances."

Slaughter's letter follows a similar request to the SEC by the advocacy group Public Citizen.

An SEC spokesman had no comment.


10:10 a.m.

National security experts are urging senators to pass legislation granting an exception to the law to allow retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to serve as Donald Trump's defense secretary.

In testimony Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Eliot Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, says Mattis would act as a stabilizing force, "preventing wildly stupid, dangerous or illegal things from happening" on Trump's watch. Cohen has been a harsh critic of the president-elect.

Kathleen Hicks of the Center for Strategic and International Studies says she supports Mattis' nomination because of his "expert grasp" of key security issues and his commitment to civilian control of the military.

Mattis has been out of uniform for fewer than seven years, the minimum required by law for a former service member to serve as defense secretary. His nomination will require new legislation to override the prohibition.

Mattis, 66, retired in 2013 as a four-star general.


9:10 a.m.

Congressional aides say Senate confirmation hearings for the candidates Donald Trump picked to run the CIA and Education Department are being delayed.

The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold its hearing for Mike Pompeo, the Republican congressman from Kansas tapped to lead the CIA, on Thursday instead of Wednesday, when three other confirmation hearings are slated to occur.

The confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump's choice for the Education Department, has been moved from Wednesday to next week. Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have not yet received key information about DeVos, including financial disclosure statements.

The shifts followed discussions between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber's top Democrat.

Democrats had urged GOP leaders to slow their aggressive hearing schedule, which includes Trump's picks for the nation's top diplomat, lead law enforcement officer and head of homeland security, among others.


7:00 a.m.

A Missouri congressman will return to its Capitol Hill location a painting that has offended some lawmakers.

Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay says protests of the artwork are a "manufactured controversy." He plans to argue Tuesday that freedom of expression, even in artwork some find offensive, is essential to liberty.

The painting shows a pig in a police uniform aiming a gun at a protester. GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter removed it from an area reserved for winners of a nationwide art competition.

In prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press, Clay says there are other works of art at the Capitol that he and constituents find offensive, citing a portrait of the late Sen. James Eastland, a staunch segregationist.

3:25 a.m.

Republican anxiety is mounting over voting to unravel the health care law without having an alternative in hand, fanned by words of encouragement from Donald Trump to a GOP senator who wants to simultaneously repeal and replace the statute.

GOP leaders have made dismantling President Barack Obama's treasured health care overhaul their premier 2017 priority. But even as the Republican-run Senate moves toward passing a budget that would make it harder for Democrats to protect Obama's law later, at least six GOP senators have expressed qualms about repeal without having a substitute — something Republicans have failed for years to produce.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander says in an interview that lawmakers "should start immediately to repeal, reform and replace Obamacare, and it shouldn't be finally repealed until we have a replacement ready."