The minority members of the Environment and Public Works Committee recently asked Chairman and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, to hold a hearing to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed budget for fiscal 2018 and call on Administrator Scott Pruitt to testify at the hearing.
In a letter led by Ranking Member Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, the senators highlighted the fact that President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal was submitted to Congress more than four months ago. During that time, Senate committees have held routine fiscal 2018 budget hearings with testimony from relevant cabinet-level officials. Additionally, Pruitt has found time to testify on EPA’s budget requests before two other congressional committees, but has yet to appear before EPW.
The lawmakers wrote, “Nearly 10 months into the 115th Congress, more than seven months after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was sworn in, and only days before the start of the next fiscal year, the Committee has yet to hold a hearing to examine EPA’s budget, which is an important Committee oversight responsibility.”
The senators also noted that the EPW Committee has a history of reviewing EPA’s annual budget requests, regardless of which political party was in power. They highlighted: “Since 1999, only once has this Committee not held a hearing on the agency’s budget request.”
The request from EPW minority members mirrors a 2013 request EPW Republicans sent asking for a budget hearing with former Administrator Gina McCarthy.
In a letter dated Sept. 23, 2013, EPW Republicans called the fact that McCarthy, who had been in place at EPA for more than two months, had not appeared before the committee “inexcusable” and an “abdication of oversight responsibility” by the committee. In that same 2013 letter, Republican senators also wrote that it would be “inappropriate” for the EPW Committee to consider EPA nominees “until members of the Committee are afforded the opportunity to fulfill their duty to conduct oversight of EPA’s budget.”
The request to discuss EPA’s budget also comes on the heels of reports that Pruitt recently spent upwards of $25,000 for a customized soundproof booth for his office, despite a formal secure document room existing within EPA headquarters.
The text of the letter to Chairman Barrasso is available at bit.ly/2fD85Jk.