Democrats could use committee boycott to delay Pruitt nomination

Democrats could use committee boycott to delay Pruitt nomination 

Posted: 9:25 am Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

By Jamie Dupree

A day after Senate Democrats delayed votes on three different Cabinet choices of President Trump, Wednesday may bring a similar move, in a bid to thwart approval of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been nominated by Mr. Trump to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

Democrats say they want more answers from Pruitt about a range of issues, as they have made clear they don’t support his nomination.

“During our hearing, Mr. Pruitt gave us answers that blatantly contradicted his record, and provoked many serious concerns about his nomination to lead the EPA,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE).

The rules of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee require that at least two Senators from the minority be present for any nomination vote to take place.

If Democrats simply don’t show up to the committee meeting – scheduled for 10:45 am ET – then the panel would not be able to consider the Pruitt nomination.

Democrats used that weapon to delay action Tuesday on both the nomination of Steven Mnuchin (for Treasury Secretary) and Tom Price (for health secretary).

Four years ago, it was Republicans who used a boycott of the Senate Environment and Public Works panel to delay action of President Obama’s choice for an EPA Administrator.

That delay lasted over three months before the GOP finally relented, and allowed a vote on Gina McCarthy, who went on to serve as EPA chief.