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Dems block committee vote on EPA nominee Pruitt

Democrats slowed down the confirmation of Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator by boycotting a scheduled vote by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.


Committee Democrats said Pruitt had not fully answered their questions about potential conflicts of interest and his plans to recuse himself from participation in lawsuits he brought against EPA while Oklahoma attorney general.


Committee rules require a quorum of seven members, including two members of the minority, to be present in order to hold a vote. But they also include an exception allowing measures to be reported to the Senate if  “a majority of committee members cast votes in person.”


That would appear to open the door for the committee’s one-vote majority of 10 Republicans to approve Pruitt without any participation by the minority. But there’s a twist: One of the EPW members is attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who did not attend the business meeting.


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