WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (EPW), today expressed her disappointment over her Democratic colleagues’ refusal to attend today’s committee vote on President Trump's Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

Click here or on the image below to hear her remarks. 


Total Number of Questions Answered (from EPW):

  • Attorney General Pruitt has answered a total of more than 1200 questions.
  • This total includes 1,078 questions for the record and at least 206 oral questions during the hearing.
  • This is the most total questions ever answered by an EPA administrator nominee for an incoming administration, on record.*
  • Mr. Pruitt has answered over 1,000 more questions than incoming nominees for EPA administrator from the Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Bush Administrations.
  • Administrator William K. Reilly, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush, was asked a total of 459 questions (at least 91 oral questions and 368 QFR).
  • Administrator Carol Browner, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton, was asked a total of 242 questions (at least 105 oral questions and 137 QFR).
  • Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who was nominated by President George W. Bush, was asked a total of 242 questions (at least 64 oral questions and 178 QFR).
  • Administrator Lisa Jackson, who was nominated by President Barack Obama, was asked a total of 202 questions (at least 69 oral questions and 133 QFR).   

*Available records date back to 1989.


Democrats’ Comments to Chairman Barrasso on January 18, 2017 on the Amount of Time for Questions During the Pruitt Hearing:

  • “I appreciate the way you’ve conduced this hearing today. I appreciate all the members coming and coming back again and again.”Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE)
  • “First of all, to you, sir, this is my first time going through nomination hearings. You have been very generous with the way you have been conducting these hearings. I think it is important that we note that, and I appreciate the number of rounds that you are doing.”Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  • “I just want to repeat, I do think what Senator Sullivan said, you have been very, very generous, it is true.”Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    • For reference, here is Senator Sullivan’s quote: “Mr. Chairman, I think you’ve been exceedingly fair, particularly relative to the confirmation of Gina McCarthy… But relative to any other EPA Administrator hearing, you’ve been very generous, very fair.”

Democrats on May 9, 2013, at a Business Meeting to Consider Gina McCarthy to be EPA Administrator:

  • “[W]hen people have honest differences of opinion, we debate it.  But when the goal is simply obstructionism, I would draw this conclusion, we are not responding to the needs of the American people if there is not an EPA Administrator.” – Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT)
  • “It has nothing to do with information not made available.  It has everything to do with obstructionism.” – Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)