Senate Republicans bust blockade on Trump's EPA pick by suspending committee rules

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Democrats on the committee boycotted Wednesday's meeting to approve Pruitt, saying that he doubts the science of climate change and has too many conflicts of interest with the companies he would be charged with regulating.

While Democrats expressed their disapproval, Republican lawmakers took the extraordinary step of suspending committee rules and voted (10-0) to advance Pruitt's nomination.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chair John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Thursday suspended rules requiring at least one member of the minority to be present for a quorum.

"It's outrageous that Republicans jammed Scott Pruitt's nomination through the Environment Committee", said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, adding that Pruitt has "blatantly obstructed a thorough review of his record".

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"Yesterday, the minority members of the committee chose to boycott our business meeting, because they do not support the nomination of Scott Pruitt", Barrasso said.

"I am disappointed Finance Committee Republicans broke committee rules to force through these two nominees who have not yet answered important questions about recently revealed ethics problems", said Sen.

Pruitt is likely to win confirmation in a full Senate vote, as no Republicans have indicated that they will oppose him, and Sen. "He will get to the floor of the United States Senate and he will be confirmed as the next administrator of the EPA". "That includes a functioning EPA", Barrasso said before moving forward with the committee vote.

Senate Democrats used the procedural maneuver in 2013 to advance Obama's appointments to the executive branch and lower level courts, following Republican efforts to block nominees.

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Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King recently announced he'll be voting against Pruitt. Sen.

"I do not believe climate change is a hoax", Pruitt said. They tried the same stunt again today, only this time they snubbed EPA nominee Scott Pruitt too.

Pruitt, the current Oklahoma attorney general, has extensive knowledge of the federal regulatory system and the rule of law.

"People across our country have a right to clean air and water, and they deserve an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator who can be counted on to fight for the health and safety of all communities".

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