Senate Panel Approves Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt

Democratic committee members boycotted today and yesterday's votes because of Pruitt's failure to respond to document requests, his lack of substantive responses to questions raised during his hearing, and his refusal to clarify whether he will recuse himself from work on regulations and issues where he has a direct conflict of interest.

After temporarily suspending the committee's rules-which requires at least two minority members to meet quorum-committee Republicans unanimously approved Pruitt by a 11-0 vote at a Thursday hearing.

Normally, at least two members of the minority - now Democrats - are required for the committee to proceed, but the panel suspended the rules Thursday morning. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, suspended committee rules to approve those nominees without Democrats present.

"We took this extraordinary step because the minority members of the committee took the extraordinary step of boycotting the business meeting to approve an EPA administrator for an incoming administration", said Committee Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wy.

Democrats have opposed Priutt since President Donald Trump nominated him in December. Committee Republicans disputed that, however, saying Pruitt answered 1,000 more questions than any other nominee to lead the agency.

Democrats say they have not received full answers on Pruitt's record and positions. The nominations will now head to the full Senate for final confirmation votes as early as next week.

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Greg Abbott vowed to oust Sally Hernandez, sheriff of Travis County, if she doesn't change her current policy. Hernandez said last week that county law enforcement officials would stop complying with requests from U.S.

For the second time in as many days, a Senate committee's GOP leadership has bypassed a boycott by Democrats to advance President Trump's Cabinet nominees. In some of the efforts, he joined West Virginia State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

"I do not believe climate change is a hoax", Pruitt said.

If all the Republicans hold together, Trump's picks will all be confirmed, as the Republicans hold 52 of the 100 seats in the Senate.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member U.S. Sen. But Democrats would not relent, extending their protest of a nominee they say is an outright foe of the EPA's mission to protect the environment and human health.

Republicans support Pruitt's nomination because they consider him a potential agent of change in the EPA, an administrator able to undo some of the regulatory measures undertaken by the Obama administration. But in his hearing, the nominee called his personal opinion "immaterial" because the EPA has a legal obligation to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act.