Dems blast McConnell for not delaying vote on EPA nominee

Dems blast McConnell for not delaying vote on EPA nominee
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Senate Democrats on Thursday slammed Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Senate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Overnight Healthcare: Trump pressures GOP ahead of vote | McConnell urges Senate to start debate | Cornyn floats conference on House, Senate bills | Thune sees progress on Medicaid MORE (R-Ky.) for not delaying a vote on President Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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.) and some colleagues have repeatedly asked McConnell to delay the vote to confirm Scott Pruitt, currently Oklahoma’s attorney general, while Democrats and a liberal group wait for public records requested more than two years ago.

McConnell declined, Carper said, and the Senate voted 54-46 on Thursday — with all Republicans and two Democrats supporting — to move forward on Pruitt and line up a vote for Friday.

“In my gut, I feel that these emails — the nature of these emails and the entities with whom they were sent and received — will help us understand the truth,” Carper told reporters Thursday in renewing his call for a delay shortly after debate formally started on Pruitt on the Senate floor.

“My fear is that a number of members, especially on the other side, would be put in a very bad position, asked to vote for a nominee that they otherwise would not have supported, had they known the truth,” he said.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn BarrassoWhat Trump can do to cripple ObamaCare Top Republican: Senate will vote to proceed to House healthcare bill Sunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief MORE (R-Wyo.) has pushed back against Democrats’ delay requests, saying Pruitt has answered more questions than any EPA administrator nominee before.

A judge in Oklahoma is holding an emergency hearing later Thursday on a lawsuit the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed last week to force Pruitt’s office to comply with their request.

The liberal group had sought, under Oklahoma’s state records law, copies of emails between Pruitt’s staff and representatives of various fossil fuel and conservative interests.

Pruitt’s office released hundreds of pages of documents last week, but CMD maintains that thousands of emails were left out.

Democrats said the decision to carry on with the Pruitt vote shows that the GOP is prioritizing getting Trump’s cabinet confirmed over transparency concerns.

“Clearly, this is an epic ram-job,” Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Live coverage: Trump's FBI nominee questioned by senators MORE (D-R.I.) said.

He said Republicans “could not get enough” of Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonNew Dem message doesn’t mention Trump Pressure on Trump grows as Kushner is questioned Cruz being considered to replace Sessions: report MORE’s emails and the emails of various federal employees they had investigated.

“But now, suddenly, emails between a nominee’s office and the major players in the industry that he will be regulating as EPA administrator, all they do is look at the ceiling tiles,” he added.

Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOPINION | Shailene Woodley: US should run on renewable energy by 2050 Dems urge 'transparent and inclusive' nuke policy review Senate confirms former Boeing VP as deputy Defense secretary MORE (D-Mass.) said Pruitt’s refusal to give the Democrats the emails at issue is unprecedented.

“What Scott Pruitt said to our committee was ‘go FOIA yourself,’ ” Markey joked.

Two Democrats, Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinMcCain returning to Senate in time for health vote Pressure on Trump grows as Kushner is questioned Kushner says he did not collude with Russia, had no improper contacts MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampRegulatory experts push Senate leaders for regulatory reform Why governors hold power in the battle for GOP healthcare votes Vulnerable senators raise big money ahead of 2018 MORE (N.D.), both say they will vote for Pruitt, and Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsHealth secretary praises Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ involvement in ObamaCare repeal GOP lawmaker suggests duel with female senators This week: ObamaCare repeal vote looms over Senate MORE (Maine) plans to vote against him, giving him more than the 51 votes needed for confirmation.