The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, despite opposition from Democrats that the former Oklahoma state Attorney General had not sufficiently answered all concerns about his qualifications.
Democrats moved to extend debate on Pruitt’s nomination Friday afternoon, delaying the confirmation until lawmakers returned from their recess on February 27. However, they were unsuccessful. The upper chamber then barreled through with the confirmation vote, which confirmed Pruitt 52-46.
On the Senate floor Friday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) railed against Pruitt, saying:
“Instead of fighting for average Americans, Mr. Pruitt decided to make a name for himself among the far-right by endlessly suing the EPA in ways that would benefit large special interests that also happened to be campaign contributors.”
Senate Democrats, led by climate change hawks Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), held the floor all through the night ahead of Pruitt’s confirmation vote to voice their concerns and pleaded for more debate, but were unsuccessful in their attempt.
Pruitt will be sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence at a later time.