Tags: Trump Administration | democrat | boycott | epa | pruitt

Democratic Boycott Stalls Action on Trump EPA Nominee Pruitt

Image: Democratic Boycott Stalls Action on Trump EPA Nominee Pruitt

Wednesday, 01 Feb 2017 11:20 AM

Senate Democrats stalled action on President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, boycotting a committee vote to advance Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt amid questions about his commitment to upholding clean air and water protections.

It was the second time in as many days that Democrats had taken the unusual step of exploiting committee rules to halt action on Trump’s cabinet nominees. On Wednesday, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee voted to suspend the panel’s rules, allowing them to advance the nominations of Steven Mnuchin to run the Treasury Department and Tom Price to head Health and Human Services.

Pruitt has drawn intense scrutiny because he has spent much of his career battling the agency he is now tapped to lead. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt went to court to fight more than a dozen actions by EPA, including its landmark declaration that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health. During a confirmation hearing last month, Pruitt softened his stance on that and other issues, insisting that environmental protection and energy development can go hand in hand.

Delaware Senator Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, had requested Wednesday’s vote on Pruitt be postponed, citing a lack of thorough answers from the nominee. While Pruitt "did submit responses to many questions, too many of his answers fail to provide requested documents, substance and clarity needed about his potential conflicts of interest," Carper said.

Chairman John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, rebuffed that request, countering that Pruitt has answered more questions than any past nominee to lead the EPA. "The committee’s review of Attorney General Pruitt’s nomination has been unparalleled in its scrutiny, thoroughness, and respect for minority rights," Barrasso said in a letter to Carper.

Under historic committee rules, at least two members of the minority must be present to constitute a quorum and allow the panel to take action on legislation and nominations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at jdlouhy1@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net, Mark Drajem, Elizabeth Wasserman

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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Senate Democrats stalled action on President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, boycotting a committee vote to advance Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt amid questions about his commitment to upholding clean air and water protections.It...
democrat, boycott, epa, pruitt
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2017-20-01
Wednesday, 01 Feb 2017 11:20 AM
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