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Dems ramp up bid to oust Pruitt

Dems ramp up bid to oust Pruitt
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are escalating their efforts to oust Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Adminstrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Democratic lawmaker calls for DOJ investigation of entire Trump administration MORE with a formal resolution calling on him to resign or be fired.

Democrats said Wednesday that between his aggressive deregulatory agenda and numerous scandals in recent weeks, Pruitt has no place at the EPA.

The senators plan to introduce in the coming days a “sense of the Senate” resolution calling for Pruitt to be removed.

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“I believe it is time for his imperial tenure to end,” Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline GSA transition delay 'poses serious risk' to Native Americans, Udall says MORE (N.M.), top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee subpanel overseeing the EPA’s budget, told reporters Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

“Not only has Scott Pruitt undermined critical environmental and health protections, he appears to be ignoring basic ethics rules that protect taxpayers from fraud and abuse,” Udall said.

“Scott Pruitt has misused taxpayer dollars while enhancing his own personal perks. He has terrorized staff and he has driven out great institutional knowledge. He has illegally delayed implementation of new and existing law," he continued.

Pruitt has been under fire in recent weeks due to reports that he paid the wife of a prominent energy lobbyist $50 a night for the use of a condo and overspent taxpayer money on a round-the-clock security team and first-class travel. In addition, his deregulatory efforts at the EPA are unpopular with Democrats.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) lent his support to the effort to oust Pruitt.

“On policy, what Scott Pruitt is doing at the EPA is incredibly dangerous for kids’ health and the environment. Decision after decision comes out of his office, making it crystal clear he’s siding with special, powerful interests, over the interests of average Americans,” he said.

“When it comes to the way Pruitt conducts himself as a member of the president’s Cabinet, a few words come to mind to describe him: elitism, corruption, entitlement, hypocrisy, fiscal profligacy.”

Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency | House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally | Trump administration pushes for rollback of Arctic offshore drilling regulations House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally MORE (D-Mass.) said Pruitt’s leadership of the EPA has been “as toxic as a Superfund site.”

“He has made the EPA stand for Every Polluter’s Ally, and he does that every single day,” Markey continued.

EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox defended Pruitt, saying he’s made major progress at the agency.

“From advocating to leave the Paris Accord, working to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan and [Waters of the United States], declaring a war on lead and cleaning up toxic Superfund sites, Administrator Pruitt is focused on advancing President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE’s agenda of regulatory certainty and environmental stewardship,” Wilcox said in a statement.

House Democrats are expected to introduce a similar resolution soon, led by Rep. Kathy CastorKatherine (Kathy) Anne CastorProgress toward managing rising seas US to exit Paris accord whether Trump or Biden wins Democrats see Green New Deal yielding gains despite GOP attacks MORE (D-Fla.).

Republicans have so far resisted efforts to oust Pruitt, deferring to the White House to investigate.