Senate panel to vote on confirming Trump EPA pick

Senate panel to vote on confirming Trump EPA pick
© Greg Nash

A Senate committee is planning to vote next week on President Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate appears poised to advance first Native American to lead National Park Service Sunday shows preview: Senate votes to raise debt ceiling; Facebook whistleblower blasts company during testimony The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Wyo.) announced Friday that the panel will vote Feb. 1 on sending current Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s (R) nomination to the full Senate.

“After a very thorough vetting process, it is time that we vote on Attorney General Pruitt’s nomination to lead the EPA,” Barrasso said in a statement. “The committee has done its due diligence, and we should move his nomination forward. Mr. Pruitt has the right experience for the job and will make an excellent administrator of the EPA.”

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Pruitt is likely to pass the committee vote along party lines. The panel has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats, and no senator has indicated a plan to buck his or her party.

Pruitt is also likely to pass the full Senate, where the GOP has 52 seats to Democrats’ 48. Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal Sunday shows preview: CDC signs off on 'mix and match' vaccine boosters MORE (D-W.Va.) is the only Democrat likely to vote for his confirmation, and no Republican is planning to vote against him.

Senators have been sharply divided along party lines over Pruitt.

Republicans like his sharp opposition to former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGlasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal Obama gives fiery speech for McAuliffe: 'Don't sit this one out' Obama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe MORE’s EPA policies and his record of suing the EPA under Obama more than a dozen times. The GOP sees Pruitt as a needed change agent who would return environmental responsibility to the states and undo Obama policies they don’t like.

But to Democrats, Pruitt has shown no record of endorsing the core missions of the EPA, and his plans to repeal numerous regulations would be dangerous to public health and the climate.

“I am deeply troubled by Mr. Pruitt’s record on the environment and his views about the role of the EPA,” Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDemocrats say they're committed to reducing emissions in Biden plan Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? Congress sends 30-day highway funding patch to Biden after infrastructure stalls MORE (Del.), the committee’s top Democrat, said at a recent event he hosted about the nomination.

“Looking at Scott Pruitt’s record, it seems he is perfectly in line with our new president’s mission to stymie or eliminate the EPA,” he said.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a meeting the day before to vote on confirming Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry and Interior secretary nominee Ryan Zinke.

The full Senate has not scheduled floor votes yet for any of the nominees.