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Trump blames Dems for confirmation delays, but red tape is culprit

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Trump blames Dems for confirmation delays, but red tape is culprit

I
n a tweet early this morning, President Trump accused Democrats of holding up the confirmation proceedings of his outstanding nominees, of which there are now two.

It is so pathetic that the Dems have still not approved my full Cabinet.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2017

A few hours later, Trump’s campaign committee sent an email to supporters asking them to sign a petition “to tell Democrats to stop obstructing our America First Agenda” by delaying nominees’ approval.

But while Democrats have in fact openly and vocally sought to delay consideration of most of Trump’s cabinet picks, employing tactics like boycotting committee votes and not agreeing to trim the number of hours that must transpire between Senate floor votes, they are not holding back the two nominees still yet to be confirmed.

Rather, the culprit is much more mundane: paperwork. Neither nominee -– Labor secretary pick Alexander Acosta, who was nominated on Feb. 16, and Agriculture secretary nominee Sonny Perdue, announced on Jan. 18 -– has yet filled out all the necessary documents needed for the related committees to proceed with their hearings.

A spokesperson for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which will hold Acosta’s confirmation hearing, said Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will not announce a hearing until Acosta has returned a standard committee questionnaire as well as an agreement from the Office of Government Ethics, required of all nominees.

Acosta was nominated only after Trump’s first pick, Andrew Puzder, withdrew over questions about his policies, past statements and personal life.

All nominees are also required to undergo a full FBI background check, which entails the nominee filling out FBI forms, submitting them to the bureau and waiting for the bureau to return the results to the committee. A Senate aide said Acosta’s FBI check is under way, meaning he’s completed his part of the FBI process.

The holdup on the Perdue confirmation appears to be for similar reasons.

A Senate Agriculture Committee spokesperson has not yet responded to ABC News’ requests, but Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was quoted yesterday by The Associated Press by saying he doesn’t know when the committee will receive Perdue’s paperwork.

“I wish to hell I did. We need a champion for agriculture, we need him on board,” the AP quoted him as saying.

The FBI and Office of Government Ethics would not comment on the cases of Acosta or Perdue.

The White House did not immediately respond to an email for comment.

ABC News’ John Santucci contributed to this report.

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