Senate Democrats on Wednesday boycotted a committee vote on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
The boycott by Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee comes amid other attempts to hold up Mr. Trump’s nominees. In the case of Mr. Pruitt specifically, Democrats claim he’s failed to answer substantive questions.
But Republican leaders say that excuse simply doesn’t hold water.
“The minority may not like all of Attorney General Pruitt’s answers, but he’s given them answers,” said Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican and committee chairman. “Mr. Pruitt ought to get at least a vote.”
Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware Democrat and his ranking member’s committee, threatened to boycott the hearing in an open letter sent to his Republican counterpart on Tuesday and made good on that threat Wednesday morning.
“The committee Democrats are deeply concerned about the lack of thoroughness of Mr. Pruitt’s responses to our questions for the record. I share their concern,” he said in the letter. “I request that you delay the Committee’s consideration of Mr. Pruitt’s nomination until he provides complete answers our questions.”
Other Republicans pointed out that Mr. Pruitt has answered far more questions, both in writing and in person during nomination hearings last month, than other recent EPA nominees.
“Scott Pruitt has answered 1,000 more questions than any nominee in the last three presidential administrations,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican.