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 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 (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 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.) 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 SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability 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.