Rounds: Democrat Boycott of Qualified EPA Nominee is “Childish”
February 3, 2017
Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today expressed his disappointment that EPW Committee Democrats boycotted the scheduled business meeting to debate and vote on the advancement of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This boycott was despite EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) giving Committee members unprecedented opportunity to question Pruitt during his confirmation hearing and Pruitt answering more than 1,200 questions from members, more than 5 times the amount than previous administrations' EPA picks.
"Simply not showing up for a committee hearing is probably one of the more childish things [Committee Democrats could do]," said Rounds during the meeting. "If they had reasons why Mr. Pruitt should not be identified as the next administrator, to voice those and to lay out their arguments appropriately in opposition to our arguments in favor of him would have been a healthy discussion and would have been an example to young people across this country about the way that our government should work. Open and public debate and discourse is a healthy part of this process. Simply not showing up because you lost an election is probably not the most appropriate way to set an example for the next generation."
Over the past month, Rounds has had the opportunity to meet with Attorney General Pruitt on a number of occasions, as well as question him during his confirmation hearing. Through those interactions, Pruitt has pledged to rein in an overly-expansive EPA, take state and local opinions into consideration when making decisions, use sound science when promulgating regulations and work with Congress rather than implement sweeping new rules without their consent.
–S.D. Senator Mike Rounds