Amidst Senate Drama, Trump EPA Designee Remains in Limbo

Feb 01, 2017
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WASHINGTON, DC - As decorum breaks down in the Capitol over President Trump's designees and nominees for cabinet, sub-cabinet posts, and now the Supreme Court, his pick for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, was once again, put on hold, by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during a hearing that was boycotted by Democrat Members of the Committee.

Arkansas Senator John Boozman and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker attended the hearing and spoke in support of AG Pruitt's nomination and decried the Democrat boycott of the hearing. Without a minimum of two Members of the minority party present, Committees are unable to achieve a quorum to advance nominees to the full Senate. (Earlier today, the Senate Finance Committee waived those rules to pass out of Committee the nominations of Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary.)

Two weeks ago, at a sometimes contentious hearing on his nomination, AG Pruitt was grilled by a bipartisan group of Senators on his views regarding climate change, ties to "Big Oil" and "Big Gas," ongoing lawsuits against the EPA, and what his agenda as Administrator would look like.

Today, Committee Chairman Barrasso (R-WY) added that "Pruitt was required to answer more questions than any EPA Administrator nominee in recent history." In total, Pruitt responded to more than 1,200 questions during and after his hearing was initially held.

Frank Lucas (R-OK), the former chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, said, "Scott Pruitt is a terrific choice to restore common sense and rule of law to the Environmental Protection Agency.  [Pruitt] has stood up to Washington time after time to fight for the conservation of our country's natural resources while protecting the jobs and well-being of American families and workers.  I look forward to working with him on a number of issues to ensure science - not political agendas - guides our nation's environmental policy."

Last month, USA Rice, along with a number of other agriculture and commodity trade associations and companies, signed a letter of support for Pruitt's confirmation as the EPA Administrator.  He is expected to be approved for the job by the Environment and Public Works Committee and the full Senate, though no schedule for either vote has been announced.

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