Senate Committee Confirms EPA Administrator Without Democratic Support

By Yessenia Funes Feb 02, 2017

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works just took a significant move in a meeting today (February 2) to confirm Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.

Chairman Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) motioned to suspend three committee rules (2a, 4 and 8) for this meeting only, in order to move forward with Pruitt’s confirmation after Senate democrats boycotted his confirmation meetings for the second day in a row. The Senate parliamentarian told the chairman that these actions are “proper under Senate rules,” he said.

Suspending these rules allows the committee to approve a resolution without the required minimum of two minority party members and allows the chairman to amend these rules without the required minimum number of assembly members.

“The minority wants political theatre,” Barrasso said during the meeting. “The nation needs a new EPA administrator.”

Pruitt, who is a climate skeptic with ongoing litigation after suing the EPA, now moves onto full Senate confirmation.

His hearings were some of the lengthiest for this administration—and the longest in EPA history, according to Barrasso. He justified his committee’s actions by highlighting this fact, as well as the minority’s decision to “put [them] in this uncharted water” by boycotting.

Meanwhile, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was sworn in as secretary of state yesterday (February 1). Democratic and public opposition to both incoming Cabinet members has been well documented on Twitter with hashtags #PollutingPruitt and #RejectRex.

Watch the C-Span video of today’s nine-minute long Senate meeting here.