Senate Democrats have held the floor all night to speak out against U.S. President Donald Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Senate Democrats pulled an all-nighter to protest President Donald Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency. The Senate is expected to approve Trump's nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Friday (February 17) over the objections of Democrats and green groups worried he will gut the agency, as the administration readies executive orders to ease regulation on drillers and miners. Pruitt, is likely to pass the vote scheduled for midday with the support of nearly all the Republicans in the Republican-controlled Senate. The vote could take place earlier in the day. Pruitt's nomination has been controversial in progressive circles: he sued the agency he intends to lead more than a dozen times while top prosecutor of his oil and gas producing state, and has expressed doubts about the science behind climate change. But many Republican lawmakers view him as a welcome change at the top of the EPA, an agency they say declared war on the coal industry during Barack Obama's presidency with its rules against carbon emissions. Pruitt only needs 51 votes in the 100-member chamber to be approved. Nearly all 52 Republicans, except Senator Susan Collins, who announced her opposition on Wednesday, are expected to vote for him. In addition, one Democrat, Heidi Heitkamp, said on Thursday (February 16) she would vote for Pruitt despite her concerns about his support for renewable energy like wind and solar power, and for cutting emissions blamed for global warming. If there were a tie, Vice President Mike Pence would vote to break it. If Pruitt is approved, Trump is expected to quickly issue two to five executive orders to reshape the EPA, sources said. Trump has promised to slash environmental rules as a way to bolster the drilling and coal mining industries, but has vowed to do so without compromising air and water quality. The White House web site says lifting policies such as Obama's Climate Action Plan would help U.S. workers and raise wages.