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Dem wants EPA nomination vote delayed

Dem wants EPA nomination vote delayed

The top Democrat considering Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants his committee vote delayed, but the Senate panel's chairman isn't having it.

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate approves sweeping coronavirus measure in partisan vote Senate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Biden gets involved to help break Senate logjam MORE (D-Del.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the plea in a letter to Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoGOP senator defends Cheney, Murkowski after Trump rebuke Sunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Murkowski votes with Senate panel to advance Haaland nomination MORE (R-Wyo.), the panel’s chairman, on Tuesday, a day before the panel is due to vote on Pruitt.

Carper said he and his Democratic colleagues are “deeply concerned” about the answers that Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, gave to questions the senators asked him in writing.

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“While committee Democrats acknowledge that Mr. Pruitt did submit responses to many questions, too many of his answers fail to provide requested documents, substance, and clarity needed about his potential conflicts of interest,” Carper wrote.

Barrasso responded a half-hour later, declining to delay the vote.

“The committee’s review of Attorney General Pruitt’s nomination has been unparalleled in its scrutiny, thoroughness, and respect for minority rights,” Barrasso wrote.

“Attorney General Pruitt has answered more questions than any past EPA administrator nominee. He has been comprehensively vetted and has demonstrated his qualifications to lead the EPA.”

Barrasso also quoted Carper in 2013, saying that if a Republican president nominates “good people, honest people, hard-working people,” the senate should support the nominees.

Pruitt sent Carper 242 pages of answers last week following his confirmation hearing, answers that Carper said were “shockingly devoid of substance.”

Carper’s letter identifies a few specific problems the Democrats have with Pruitt’s answers: He declined to provide documents they requested about some cases he was involved in; he didn’t provide detailed answers about his positions on numerous EPA regulations; and he didn’t go as far as the Democrats wanted in avoiding perceived conflicts of interest.

“We believe these inquiries, and our questions for the record, elicit information from the nominee that he possesses and that he should be able to provide to the committee,” Carper said. “Failure on his part to do so is not only an affront; it also denies Democratic committee members, and all members of the Senate, information necessary to judge his fitness to assume the important role of leading the EPA.”