Pruitt to testify before Senate panel in August
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is slated to testify in August in front of the main Senate committee that oversees the agency, the panel announced Tuesday.
The committee scheduled the hearing following months of spending and ethics controversies involving Pruitt. Senate Democrats have long sought to put Pruitt in the hot seat over the scandals, and Republicans are expressing increasing concern as well.
“The hearing will give senators the opportunity to ask important questions and hear about the work being done at the agency,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.
Barrasso did not specify a date in August for the hearing, and the committee said it will be set later.
A handful of GOP senators on the panel — including Sens. James Inhofe (Okla.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Dan Sullivan (Alaska) — have pushed in recent days for Pruitt to come before the committee.
It will be Pruitt’s first time at the environment committee since January and his first congressional hearing since May, which preceded a fresh wave of reports raising ethical questions surrounding the EPA chief’s actions.
The reports and accusations regarding Pruitt in recent months have included that he rented a condo from a lobbyist for just $50 for each night he spent there, spent $43,000 on a soundproof booth for his office, spent $3.5 million on an unprecedented security detail and had aides or security staff do personal tasks like helping his wife find a job and trying to find a used Trump International Hotel mattress.
Barrasso and other GOP senators have generally stood by Pruitt and have not called for him to resign, arguing that his policy efforts at the EPA are valuable and it would be difficult to confirm a replacement. But their concerns about the allegations against him have grown louder recently.
“I think something needs to happen to change that,” Inhofe said last week on a radio show, referring to the controversies. “One of those alternatives would be for him to leave that job.”
Democrats, meanwhile, have repeatedly called on Pruitt to be fired or resign due to the scandals.
“Mr. Pruitt is an embarrassment. It is a stain on our democracy that he still holds this once esteemed position,” Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), the committee’s top Democrat, said earlier this month.
“And it is an abject failure that so many Republicans in Congress have chosen to turn a blind eye to the seemingly endless ethical shortcomings that should have led to Mr. Pruitt’s removal a long time ago.”
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.