-- As President Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees continue making their way through confirmation hearings and votes, here's everything you need to know about the process:
Who Needs Senate Confirmation?
Hundreds of other senior posts and agency heads (1,212, to be exact) require Senate confirmation too, after background checks. Essentially, heads of agencies and a lot of deputies need to be confirmed, whereas adviser positions for the president do not. For example: CIA director, yes; national security adviser, no.
When Does the President Send Appointments to the Hill?
Before a nomination may move to the Hill, the candidate must submit several forms and undergo a fair amount of vetting by the White House and FBI. What is gathered in this process (by looking at, for example, financial disclosure reports, criminal checks and questionnaires about ties to foreign governments) could be used by the president or president-elect to withdraw a nomination or present it to the Senate as evidence in hearings.
In 2004, Congress passed legislation to "encourage a president-elect to submit, for security clearance, potential nominees to high-level national security positions as soon as possible after the election," according to the Congressional Research Service. The goal was to "reduce the elapsed time between a new president's inauguration and the appointment of his or her national security team."
What Does the Confirmation Process Look Like?
1) A nomination is given to the relevant Senate committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee, for example, handles the attorney general nomination.
2) That committee can then hold hearings, vote to move the nomination straight to the Senate floor for a vote or not move on it at all (in which case, the committee effectually kills the nomination).
3) After hearings, the committee votes to report a nomination to the full Senate, requiring a simple majority. It may vote to report the nomination favorably, unfavorably or without recommendation. If a committee sits on an appointment, the full Senate may vote to invoke cloture and move the nomination along.
4) If a nomination clears committee, it moves to the Senate floor for a simple majority vote. Filibusters are not an issue here because Democrats changed Senate rules three years ago to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for most nominations. Supreme Court picks are still subject to filibuster.
Will Trump Have the Votes?
The GOP barely kept its majority in the Senate after this year's elections, and rejections of major appointments are rare. Republicans have 52 seats, but that number includes Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who is Trump's pick for attorney general.
Could some Republicans defect? Yup. Could there be a tie? Maybe. Would Republicans need to use soon-to-be Vice President Mike Pence's vote as a tie breaker? Possibly.
When Are the Hearings and Votes?
Hearings for several Cabinet picks started in January before the inauguration. Nominees were not permitted to be confirmed, however, until after the president was sworn in on Jan. 20. A number of nominees have been voted on, confirmed and sworn in. A full list of those who require Senate confirmation and their status is below.