Senate Committee Takes An ‘Extraordinary Step’ To Approve Trump’s EPA Pick

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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Republican Senators approved President Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by suspending several committee rules when Democrats simply did not show up Thursday.

The committee’s approval allows Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to move forward in the confirmation process; the Senate will soon hold a floor vote to confirm Pruitt.

“Elections have consequences,” Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso said during a hearing, explaining that the majority on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had taken the “extraordinary step” to suspend several rules.

Committee Democrats, once again, boycotted the hearing Thursday. Democrats boycotted Wednesday’s hearing to vote on whether or not to approve Pruitt’s confirmation, arguing the AG had not answered the more than 1,000 written questions they submitted to him.

Pruitt opponents pointed out that Republicans boycotted a 2013 committee vote for President Obama’s second pick to head EPA, Gina McCarthy.

Democrats called the 2013 Republican boycott “embarrassing,” but Republicans boycotted the vote because they didn’t believe McCarthy had fully answered all 1,000 of their questions, especially ones regarding agency transparency.

Though, Democrats were unlikely to support Pruitt even if he had answered all of their questions. Democrats and environmentalists say Pruitt is a “climate denier” and a shill of “Big Oil” who wants to rollback clean air and water protections.

Pruitt supporters, however, say the attorney general sued to protect state’s rights from federal overreach.

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