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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) for not delaying a vote on President Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Cybersecurity: Mueller probe cost .7M in early months | Senate confirms Homeland Security nominee | Consumer agency limits data collection | Arrest in Andromeda botnet investigation Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank 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 Anthony BarrassoScalise: House, Senate ‘pretty close’ on tax bill Top GOP senator: House and Senate 'not that far apart' on tax bill Sunday shows preview: Republicans take victory lap on taxes 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 WhitehouseOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating EPA head pledges to protect climate scientists MORE (D-R.I.) said.

He said Republicans “could not get enough” of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father 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 MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyNet neutrality supporters predict tough court battle over FCC's repeal plan Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Driverless car bill hits Senate speed bump 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 ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Wealthy outsiders threaten to shake up GOP Senate primaries MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (N.D.), both say they will vote for Pruitt, and Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (Maine) plans to vote against him, giving him more than the 51 votes needed for confirmation.