Dems blast McConnell for not delaying vote on EPA nominee

Dems blast McConnell for not delaying vote on EPA nominee
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Senate Democrats on Thursday slammed Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRyan, McConnell predict ‘positive, upbeat’ message from Trump Retired generals urge Congress not to cut funds for diplomacy The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.) for not delaying a vote on President Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Sen. Tom CarperTom CarperA guide to the committees: Senate Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Warren: Trump's EPA pick the 'attorney general for Exxon' MORE (D-Del.) and some colleagues have repeatedly asked McConnell to delay the vote to confirm Scott Pruitt, currently Oklahoma’s attorney general, while Democrats and a liberal group wait for public records requested more than two years ago.

McConnell declined, Carper said, and the Senate voted 54-46 on Thursday — with all Republicans and two Democrats supporting — to move forward on Pruitt and line up a vote for Friday.

“In my gut, I feel that these emails — the nature of these emails and the entities with whom they were sent and received — will help us understand the truth,” Carper told reporters Thursday in renewing his call for a delay shortly after debate formally started on Pruitt on the Senate floor.

“My fear is that a number of members, especially on the other side, would be put in a very bad position, asked to vote for a nominee that they otherwise would not have supported, had they known the truth,” he said.

Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn BarrassoLawmakers fundraise amid rising town hall pressure EPA delays rule on mining cleanup funding EPA head previously used private email for government business MORE (R-Wyo.) has pushed back against Democrats’ delay requests, saying Pruitt has answered more questions than any EPA administrator nominee before.

A judge in Oklahoma is holding an emergency hearing later Thursday on a lawsuit the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed last week to force Pruitt’s office to comply with their request.

The liberal group had sought, under Oklahoma’s state records law, copies of emails between Pruitt’s staff and representatives of various fossil fuel and conservative interests.

Pruitt’s office released hundreds of pages of documents last week, but CMD maintains that thousands of emails were left out.

Democrats said the decision to carry on with the Pruitt vote shows that the GOP is prioritizing getting Trump’s cabinet confirmed over transparency concerns.

“Clearly, this is an epic ram-job,” Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseFive takeaways from the Scott Pruitt emails A guide to the committees: Senate Pruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault MORE (D-R.I.) said.

He said Republicans “could not get enough” of Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton: Trump must speak out against hate crimes, threats Piers Morgan trolls Oscars: 'Chin up, La La Land... you won the popular vote' Trump's clueless rhetoric on nukes makes US vulnerable, not safer MORE’s emails and the emails of various federal employees they had investigated.

“But now, suddenly, emails between a nominee’s office and the major players in the industry that he will be regulating as EPA administrator, all they do is look at the ceiling tiles,” he added.

Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate GOP sets sights on internet privacy rules MORE (D-Mass.) said Pruitt’s refusal to give the Democrats the emails at issue is unprecedented.

“What Scott Pruitt said to our committee was ‘go FOIA yourself,’ ” Markey joked.

Two Democrats, Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks Manchin: Sanders backers should challenge me in Dem primary Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes MORE (W.Va.) and Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks The buzzword everyone can agree on in the health debate: RESTORE Greens launch ads against two GOP senators for Pruitt votes MORE (N.D.), both say they will vote for Pruitt, and Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsLeaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood GOP lawmaker at town hall calls on Trump to release his tax returns GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood MORE (Maine) plans to vote against him, giving him more than the 51 votes needed for confirmation.