Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), urged Senate Democrats to stop their delay tactics and for the Senate to confirm Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In his remarks, Barrasso noted Attorney General Pruitt’s qualifications to lead the agency and the broad bipartisan support his nomination has received.

Following these remarks, the Senate voted 52 to 46 to confirm Pruitt, with bipartisan support.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Over the past weeks, we have seen Democrats continue to use one delaying tactic after another on the floor of the United States Senate.

“They have tried to slow down the confirmation of many of the administration’s most important nominees.

“We have seen it time and again.

“We have seen it with agencies across the government including right now the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Democrats are just wasting time and they are doing it intentionally.

“They are not protecting our environment. Not one bit.

“They are not safeguarding the health of the American people. Not at all.

“Government agencies like the EPA, and one after another, need their leadership in place.

“What the American people don’t need is more political theater from Senate Democrats.

“We’ve heard a lot about Scott Pruitt’s nomination to be administrator of the EPA.

“Much of what we’ve heard from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle has simply not been true

“I want to set the record straight, Mr. President.

“As head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt will protect the environment.

“During his six years as Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has stood up to polluters.

“He has worked across state lines

“And he has worked across party lines,

“He has done it to lower phosphorous levels in the Illinois River.

“He actually negotiated water rights settlements with Oklahoma’s tribes. Why? To preserve scenic lakes and rivers.

“He’s used common sense policies.

“He used them to protect the environment in Oklahoma and he will follow common sense policies at the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Mr. President, the delays we have seen by Democrats have never actually been about Mr. Pruitt’s answers to questions about his qualifications.

“He has answered over 1,200 questions.

“He answered four rounds of questions in committee, for six and a half hours.

“Members of the other side said these were very fair hearings.

“These delays are all about obstruction.

“They are all about denying President Trump his cabinet.

“That’s what this is all about.

“It’s about pretending that their candidate, Hillary Clinton, didn’t lose the election in November.

“We have seen them use the same tactics for one cabinet nominee after another.

“As the cabinet nominees were named, what we saw was a list of eight nominees come out that Senator Schumer had as his hit list of nominees that he was going to oppose, slow down, obstruct, boycott.”

“Democrats delayed, they delayed again, they delayed again.

“That’s what we saw in one after another, after another.

“When Scott Pruitt is confirmed today, he will take office later than any incoming EPA administrator for any new administration going back to the 1980’s.

“Our friends on the other side of the aisle need to recognize that the terrible precedent they are setting with all of these relentless and needless delays will continue then into the future.

“It is a precedent, just like the precedent that Harry Reid set when he changed the rules of the Senate, by breaking the rules.

“The Democrats need to see how their actions will continue to play forward, will affect the confirmation process for all future administrations, including Democratic administrations.

“The American people want someone in place to run these important departments.

“What we see from Democrats is political theater on the floor of the United States Senate.

“President Trump deserves to have his team in place.

“President Trump deserves to have his cabinet in place.

“The cabinet nominees deserve an up or down vote from the Senate, on the floor of the Senate.

“That is what we are going to do today with Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

“Who is qualified and who has been nominated to be the administrator of the EPA.

“Scott Pruitt will protect our environment.

“He will protect the health of all Americans.

“He is the right person for the job.

“So I say to you Mr. President as I come here to the floor: I chaired the committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, on Scott Pruitt’s nomination.

“I listened to six and a half hours of testimony.

“I listened and read through responses that he gave to 1,200 questions being asked of him.

“He gave thorough answers. Perhaps not the answer the Democrats wanted to hear but answers that I felt were responsive. 

“So I come to the floor to urge all of my colleagues to support Mr. Pruitt’s nomination to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“He is a nominee who as Attorney General, in Oklahoma, protected the environment, worked to strengthen the economy, and stood up for state’s rights which continues to be most crucial.”

Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Over the past eight years, the Environmental Protection Agency, with its regulatory rampage, has hurt a lot of people in my home state of Wyoming and all across the country.

“The EPA’s overreaching regulations have stunted job growth, hurt our economy, and failed to help the agency meet its mission.

“And the mission is to protect the environment and the health of all Americans.

“The EPA needs to be reformed and modernized.

“Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is the right person for the job.

“Mr. Pruitt is committed to protecting the environment, ensuring clean air, water, and land while also supporting a strong and healthy economy.

“He stood up to industry that polluted his state’s air and water.

“He has received bipartisan support from Senators in this body, from state leaders, from small businesses, from farmers, from ranchers, and from many others across the country.

“Attorneys general from all around the country recognized his good work.

“Attorney General Luther Strange of Alabama, now U.S. Senator Strange, and 23 of his peers wrote a letter in support of Mr. Pruitt’s nomination.

“Here is what they said: ‘the administrator of the EPA plays a critical role in our nation’s government. Attorney General Pruitt has proven over the course of his career that he has the right character, experience, and knowledge to serve as administrator of the EPA. We urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.’

“I agree.

“I urge my colleagues to support the nomination.”