Joni Ernst

Committee Vote on Pruitt Comments - February 1, 2017

Joni Ernst
February 01, 2017— Washington DC
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Thank you, Senator Fisher, very much. I'd like to echo the same sentiments of many of my colleagues that are here today, and I'd like to State for the record that this committee and all Republicans in the Senate are committed to a fair and full confirmation process. And I know Chairman Barroso has worked really hard to make sure that that is the case for Mr. Pruitt.

Vetting nominees is an important role and one that I take seriously as do my colleagues, but there comes a point when vetting has been turned into obstruction and that is what we are witnessing here today. Mr. Pruitt has answered more than 1,200 questions from this committee, 1,200 questions, That is over 1,000 more answers than the incoming nominees for EPA Administrator from the last four administrations.

Lisa Jackson nominated by President Obama to be EPA administrator at the start of his presidency and viewed as a very controversial pick by many on this committee, was asked 202 questions. 202 questions compared to 1,200, so I would ask my colleagues on the other side, what is the true purpose of their witch hunt? Because if the answer is to get more clarity on Mr. Pruitt's policy views or positions, Chairman Barroso has given you an unprecedented amount of time and opportunity to get those answers surpassing committee standards set in 2003, 2005, 2009, and 2013.

In fact some of you even publicly acknowledged that you were pleased with how this committee conducted the confirmation hearing, so I would remind my Democratic colleagues of their words in 2013, back when this committee was considering Gina McCarthy and roles were reversed. Take for example Senator Cardin who said and I quote, “it has nothing to do with information not met available. It has everything to do with obstructionism.”

Mr. Chairman, I am going to wrap up my comments here, but I would leave my colleagues on the other side with one final thought. Will they take the blame for an EPA that is not fully operational, heaven forbid and even if we have an environmental crisis? when people have honest differences of opinion, we debate it, but when the goal is simply obstructionism I would draw this conclusion. We're not responding to the needs of the American people if there is not an EPA Administrator, and folks those are not my words, those are the words that came from Senator Bernie Sanders from 2013. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.