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 TrumpKobach fined over Trump meeting memo OPINION: Dear media, Americans don't care about Obama's legacy Make America’s classroom and workplaces safe again 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 CarperTom CarperDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Overnight Energy: Lawmakers challenge Trump's proposed EPA cuts Overnight Energy: Tillerson maintains support for Paris deal despite Trump decision 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 BarrassoA frantic scramble before possible healthcare vote next week Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP leader expects health vote next week | Senate Republicans consider deeper Medicaid cuts | Dems vow to block Senate work Senate GOP leader: Health vote expected next week 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 SchumerFCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases Trump: Pelosi's leadership good for the GOP Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal 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 WhitehouseSenate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference Judiciary Committee to continue Russia probe after Mueller meeting GOP hits the gas on ObamaCare repeal MORE (D-R.I.), who called Pruitt’s selection “a sickening and saddening choice.”