Senate Dems want Pruitt vote delayed over emails

Senate Dems want Pruitt vote delayed over emails
© Getty Images

Senate Democrats want to delay a vote on President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominee due to a pending court case regarding email records.

Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee, led by Sen. Tom CarperTom CarperGovernors-turned-senators meet to talk healthcare Overnight Healthcare: GOP'S repeal-only plan quickly collapses in Senate Dem leaders amp up calls for bipartisan ObamaCare fixes MORE (D-Del.), said that emails Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office is likely to release publicly soon may be important in considering his nomination.

“Granting this request — to schedule consideration of Mr. Pruitt’s nomination at a time that permits Senators to receive and review the information we previously requested — is compelled, in our view, by the Senate’s obligation to provide advice and consent on Mr. Pruitt’s nomination,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDems don’t want to help GOP improve repeal bill Bipartisan group of governors call on GOP to reject skinny repeal Dems get CBO scores on what they think skinny bill will look like MORE (R-Ky.). “These records are needed for the Senate to evaluate Mr. Pruitt’s suitability to serve in the position for which he has been nominated.”

ADVERTISEMENT
McConnell on Monday teed up a vote in the full Senate on Pruitt’s nomination. That vote will likely happen sometime this week.

Pruitt has at times acted in his role as Oklahoma's attorney general in ways that benefit fossil fuel companies, including submitting a letter to the EPA that was written by an oil company.

More than two years ago, the Center for Media and Democracy requested records of emails between Pruitt’s office and numerous fossil fuel companies, conservative groups and similar parties. The long response time from Pruitt’s office spurred the liberal watchdog group to sue him, and a state court has a hearing scheduled for Thursday on the matter. Pruitt's office released the first batch of records last week.

Sen. John BarrassoJohn BarrassoLive coverage: Senate begins debate on ObamaCare repeal What Trump can do to cripple ObamaCare Top Republican: Senate will vote to proceed to House healthcare bill MORE (R-Wyo.), the environment committee’s chairman, pushed back Tuesday against the Democrats’ request and said Pruitt’s vote should happen soon.

“Attorney General Pruitt has answered more questions than any EPA administrator nominee on record,” Barrasso said in a statement. “He has been fully vetted. He has fully cooperated with the committee and deserves an expeditious vote by the full Senate.”

McConnell slammed Democrats in a Tuesday floor speech, saying they are obstructing confirmation of numerous Trump Cabinet nominees.

“Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen unprecedented obstruction from our colleagues across the aisle,” he said. “It’s made the confirmation of this president’s nominees the slowest in modern history.”

Democrats have argued that Pruitt has not been responsive to their requests and questions throughout his confirmation process.

They boycotted the committee vote on Pruitt earlier this month in order to prevent the quorum needed to advance the nomination. The next day, the GOP waived committee rules to push Pruitt through.