Published: Fri, February 03, 2017
USA | By Cassandra Hanson

Senate GOPers Suspend Rules To Approve EPA Nominee Without Dems

Senate GOPers Suspend Rules To Approve EPA Nominee Without Dems

While Democrats expressed their disapproval, Republican lawmakers took the extraordinary step of suspending committee rules and voted (10-0) to advance Pruitt's nomination.

The committee's full roster of Republicans - including Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), boycotted the scheduled committee votes on Wednesday and Thursday, saying Pruitt had not adequately answered their questions.

The procedural rules of the Senate committee allow for a change to or suspension of those rules "by vote of a majority of committee members at a business meeting if a quorum is present".

The Senate EPW Committee has legislative jurisdiction over EPA, including nominations subject to Senate confirmation.

Democrats have opposed Priutt since President Donald Trump nominated him in December.

The committee's move comes a day after Republicans used similar tactics to advance the nominations of Trump's treasury nominee, Steven Mnuchin, and his selection for health and human services secretary, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.).

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Veteran Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) explained the new, bolder Republican attitude: "We took some unprecedented actions today due to the unprecedented obstruction on the part of our colleagues".

"The minority has put us in this, unchartered waters". "The nation needs a new EPA administrator". Barrasso said that was different, because a president deserves special treatment for his first Cabinet.

"The committee Democrats are deeply concerned about the lack of thoroughness of Mr. Pruitt's responses to our questions for the record", Delaware Sen.

But Pruitt offered no plans for how his EPA would go about regulating pollutants under his banner of "cooperative federalism", leaving many Democrats skeptical that his agency would do more than simply cut EPA rules. The AG's office says its environmental work continued under a different unit, but court records and financial data suggest environmental enforcement has not been a top priority for Pruitt. Tillerson's confirmation was set back more than a week when Democrats insisted on a preliminary vote ahead of final confirmation, and did so after having invoked a rule that delays a floor votes on a nominee. "1,200 questions. He answered over 1,000 more questions than the EPA administrator nominees for the incoming Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations", Barrasso said.

During Pruitt's six-hour confirmation hearing before the committee January 18, Democrats cited Pruitt's campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry and his 14 lawsuits against EPA as attorney general.

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