January 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm ET
Pruitt Meets With Barrasso, Inhofe
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, met with incoming Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and former Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) Tuesday afternoon, and is expected to hold more meetings with lawmakers this week.
Pruitt, Barrasso, and Inhofe met for 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon. The three held a media availability for photographers but did not take questions. After the meeting, Inhofe told reporters the meeting went well, but declined to take any other questions.
The Environment and Public Works Committee is responsible for Pruitt’s confirmation before it goes to a full Senate vote.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters Tuesday he is setting up a meeting with Pruitt this week or early next week. Manchin, one of the few Democrats considered to be pro-coal, said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll support Pruitt’s confirmation, but said he’ll “always” be deferential to how “the executive wants to put the team together.”
FreedomWorks, a conservative organization, announced Tuesday afternoon they will consider Pruitt’s confirmation a “key vote,” which will count toward senators’ voting scorecard.
Climate hawks have also put pressure on Pruitt’s confirmation. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in December it would serve as a test for whether members seriously believe in climate science or not. Pruitt is involved in the lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
A group backed by the Environmental Defense Action Fund also launched a TV ad in seven states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday opposing Pruitt’s confirmation.