Dem: EPA pick should answer questions before hearing

Dem: EPA pick should answer questions before hearing

The top Democrat on the panel considering President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems win from coast to coast Falwell after Gillespie loss: 'DC should annex' Northern Virginia Dems see gains in Virginia's House of Delegates MORE's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Tuesday he is not ready to host hearings on the potential administrator’s confirmation.

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate confirms top air regulator at EPA Senate panel delays vote on Trump’s Homeland Security pick Overnight Energy: Senators grill Trump environmental pick | EPA air nominee heads to Senate floor | Feds subpoena ex-Trump adviser over biofuels push MORE (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said Scott Pruitt has not yet responded to a list of about 50 questions the panel’s Democrats sent and that Pruitt's standard FBI background check is not complete.

Carper said committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThis week: GOP seeks to advance tax overhaul Dissent is democratic: Stop calling McCain, Corker, Flake RINOs The farm bill presents a chance to lighten the regulatory burden of farmers MORE (R-Wyo.) should not schedule a hearing until Pruitt completes those items and senators have a chance to review them.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We would certainly want to have responses to the seven pages of questions,” Carper told reporters Tuesday.

“We want to have the opportunity to review those questions and maybe ask some follow-up questions to them if the responses are not comprehensive. And we’d want to have a chance to drill down on the FBI review of this nominee, as we would for any other nominee,” he said.

Carper’s concerns align with those of Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump is right: The visa lotto has got to go Schumer predicts bipartisan support for passing DACA fix this year No room for amnesty in our government spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.), who has accused the president-elect and Senate Republicans of trying to rush nominees through the confirmation process.

Schumer has said in recent days that many of Trump’s Cabinet nominees have not gone through federal ethics reviews, answered senators’ questions or completed background checks. Until those steps are taken, Schumer said, the Senate should not move forward on confirmations.

Pruitt, the current attorney general of Oklahoma, has completed his ethics review and financial disclosures.

Carper sent Pruitt the questionnaire nearly two weeks ago. It included general questions like Pruitt’s outlook on the EPA’s mission, along with specific questions such as the funding history of his office.

Carper met with Pruitt last week and said he has “grave concerns.” Other Democrats have been more forceful, like Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseTech companies grilled over Russian election interference Hitting GOP, Dems pitch raising 401(k) caps Democrats double down on calls for Congress to protect Mueller MORE (D-R.I.), who called Pruitt’s selection “a sickening and saddening choice.”