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Dems mulling protest of Trump's EPA nominee

Dems mulling protest of Trump's EPA nominee
© Greg Nash

Democrats are mulling a boycott of Wednesday’s nomination hearing for President Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to vote Wednesday on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination. 

But 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.), the panel's ranking Democrat, told reporters on Tuesday that committee Democrats would be meeting to consider a boycott of the nomination, a measure Democrats took against two other Trump nominees on Tuesday morning.

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“I think any ranking member worth his or her salt should always consult with his or her colleagues within their committee,” Carper told The Hill on Tuesday.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a committee member, said later that Democrats had “not yet” decided on whether to boycott the hearing.

Carper sent a letter to committee Chairman 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.) asking him to postpone the vote, saying Democrats are “deeply concerned” about the answers Pruitt gave to senators. 

“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 later, saying he would not postpone 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 in a letter of his own.

Democrats have already taken steps to slow down the confirmation process of a handful of Trump nominees. 

On Tuesday, Finance Committee Democrats refused to attend a hearing to vote on two Trump picks: Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury Department. 

And the party has twice this week invoked a rarely used procedural rule to delay a committee vote on Trump’s attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Manchin flexes muscle in 50-50 Senate Udalls: Haaland criticism motivated 'by something other than her record' MORE (R-Ala.)

Pruitt is, by far, the most controversial nominee for Trump’s energy and environment team. A Senate committee on Tuesday approved the president's picks to lead the Interior and Energy Departments, clearing their way for confirmation.