Texas Congressman: Trump Needs ‘Administration Fully Staffed’ to Deal with Harvey Aftermath

Pete Sessions says senators 'better start doing' their job and confirm appointees charged with disaster management

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said that President Donald Trump “needs to have his administration fully staffed” in order to effectively deal with the fallout of Hurricane Harvey.

Sessions noted, during an interview Monday on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” that the hurricane turned tropical storm is continuing to wreak havoc on portions of Texas, and in some places will have dumped more than 50 inches of rain. Sessions said the people of his state have asked everyone “around the nation to come and help us” deal with the long-term recovery process.

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But he lambasted the Senate for slow-rolling the confirmation process for many of the president’s nominees to fill key administration positions, leaving acting officials to deal with the Harvey response.

“I believe the Senate needs to act,” Sessions said. “This president needs to have his administration fully staffed. We’re dealing with a lot of people who have acting titles.”

“I can think of little worse than having somebody who’s going to be there for two or three months, then handing it off and us waiting,” he added. “We need them as attorneys. We need them as judges. We need them across the board because this is going to be a long-term effort. And I will tell you — anyone who stands in the way should be called out. So we need to get this done.”

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Although Sessions blasted the Senate for its slow-walking and “resistance” against Trump and his administration, he refused to allow Trump off the hook. Noting that the president still has scores of appointments waiting to be made, the Texas congressman urged Trump to finish his selections swiftly and apply severe pressure to the Senate to act.

“I lay this on the administration and the United States Senate. But they’d better set that as a priority,” he said, saying that “100 percent” of the appointments and confirmations necessary to deal with Harvey’s aftermath must “be done in two weeks.”

“The administration needs to finish off with 100 percent of their appointees to government. We need to make sure the Senate approves them literally as quickly as possible,” Sessions said. “And I will tell you what lies ahead is a real mess — not only for Houston, Texas, but also politically. We need to stick together. Now more than ever our country needs to see this effort. But instead of fighting, we need to be … a team of rivals.”

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Saying that the country must have a unified team working together to rebuild Texas and the country as a whole, the congressman said the country needs confirmed appointees instead of “acting” individuals so that it is “dealing with people who will be there for the next few years — so that we don’t point the finger in one direction.” Once appointees are made and confirmed, he explained, the country could “hold them accountable.”

“Let’s hold everybody accountable. The government needs to be held accountable. But we need to get past politics,” Sessions said. “We need this done. And this is something that I wish the president would take [the] time as he is talking about things — let’s finish off all 100 percent … so the real people that we’re going to hold accountable — not the acting people — are the ones that are done, put in place. We need real, working people right now.”

“Let’s leave all the other fights alone, the fights that divide us, and get to where we come to an agreement,” he added. “We must do our job. We’re going to do it in the House, and they better start doing it in the Senate … We have won the election. The president now needs a chance to run [the country] properly with people who will be held accountable.”

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