© Greg Nash
Senate Democrats want to delay a Friday vote on Scott Pruitt's nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after a judge ordered the Oklahoma attorney general's records to be released next week.
"We don't have all the information we need to make an informed vote on this nomination," Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats revive filibuster fight over voting rights bill Senate backers of new voting rights bill push for swift passage Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise MORE (D-Ore.) told reporters during a press conference.
He added that delaying the nomination until Feb. 27 "wouldn't delay the businesses of the Senate at all" because lawmakers are out of town next week.
The Senate is expected to take a final vote Friday afternoon on Pruitt after the Senate voted 54-46 a day earlier to advance his nomination.
The final vote comes days before Pruitt's office is expected to have to turn over documents requested roughly two years go.
Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons, based in Oklahoma City, ordered the release of up to 3,000 documents by Tuesday in response to a request by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act, E&E News reported.
Democrats argue the emails could shed new light on Pruitt's ties to the oil and gas industry that he will be tasked with helping regulate as EPA administrator.
Democrats pulled an all-night protest from the Senate floor to voice their opposition to Pruitt ahead of the final vote.
They tried to paint Republicans as flip-flopping, noting that they are ignoring Pruitt's emails while spending the presidential campaign focused on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE's private email server.
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-N.Y.) said Republicans had spent months talking about "emails, emails, emails."
Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats draw red lines in spending fight What Republicans should demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling Climate hawks pressure Biden to replace Fed chair MORE (D-R.I.) added that Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.) is asking for Republicans to engage in "willful blindness."
"The majority leader is asking his people to vote aye on a very, very difficult case," he said.
But McConnell quickly shut down any speculation that he would delay the vote, arguing that Democrats were trying to buy more time in an effort to sink Pruitt's nomination.
"The effort has been to delay the nominations that they have made controversial as long as possible," he said. "They want to have Pruitt out there over the recess so all their supporters can express themselves."