GOP Senators Move Trump EPA Pick Ahead as Dems Boycott Vote | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

GOP Senators Move Trump EPA Pick Ahead as Dems Boycott Vote

The vote came after Republicans suspended committee rules to muscle through the vote, because Democrats boycotted the meeting

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

    Republicans suspended Senate committee rules Thursday to muscle through President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency toward a confirmation vote after Democrats boycotted a meeting.

    It was the latest sign of political hostilities on Capitol Hill as Senate Democrats used parliamentary procedure to delay votes on some of Trump's Cabinet nominees and Republicans used their slim Senate majority to advance and approve them.

    New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    [NATL] New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    The city of New Orleans will remove four statues of Confederate-era events and figures in an effort to divorce itself from symbols that some see as problematic. The first statue, the Liberty Place Monument, was taken down early Monday morning. 

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    Also Thursday, two Senate committees voted along party lines to send Trump's nominee to lead the White House budget office, South Carolina GOP Rep. Mick Mulvaney, to the full Senate for a vote.

    As the scheduled meeting to discuss EPA nominee Scott Pruitt was gaveled to order, the seats reserved for the 10 Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee were empty for the second consecutive day. Committee rules required that at least two members of the minority party be present for a vote to be held.

    The 11 Republicans voted unanimously to temporarily suspend those rules and then voted again to advance the nomination of Pruitt, the state attorney general of Oklahoma.

    Committee chairman John Barrasso accused the absent Democrats of engaging in delay and obstruction.

    Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    [NATL-DFW] Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    Body camera footage shows a Florida police officer being dragged by a driver attempting to flee a traffic stop.

    Police said Frank Wetzel, 61, was pulled over after blowing through a stop sign. Police said he started fidgeting with something next to him, making the officer suspicious. He was allegedly later found with a machete and handgun.

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    "It is unprecedented for the minority to delay an EPA administrator for an incoming president to this extent," Barrasso said. The Wyoming Republican then echoed President Barack Obama's famous 2009 statement to GOP leaders that "elections have consequences."

    "The people spoke and now it is time to set up a functioning government," Barrasso said of the November election. "That includes a functioning EPA."

    Despite the rhetoric from committee Republicans, the Democrats appeared to have borrowed directly from their opponents' playbook.

    In 2013, GOP members of the same committee boycotted a similar committee meeting on Gina McCarthy, Obama's then-nominee for EPA administrator. McCarthy was eventually approved by the Senate, serving in the post until Trump's inauguration earlier this month.

    Barrasso has said that is not an "apples-to-apples" comparison since Obama was not then a new, first-term president building out his team.

    Democratic members of the committee said this week the boycott was necessary because Pruitt has refused to fully respond to requests for additional information.

    Democrats did attend meetings of the Senate budget and homeland security committees Thursday as Republicans voted to approve Mulvaney, Trump's nominee to lead the White House Budget Office, for a vote by the full Senate. The move came over the opposition of Democrats who warn of his support for cutting rising costs of Medicare and increasing the age for claiming Social Security benefits.

    Mulvaney was among tea party lawmakers who backed a government shutdown in 2013 in an attempt to block the Affordable Care Act from taking place. In 2011, he was among those against increasing the government's borrowing cap.

    Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    [NATL-BAY] Flight Attendant's Behavior Questioned Following Altercation

    One day after an American Airlines flight attendant became entangled in an altercation with passengers, his employer is investigating whether or not he was out of line. Thom Jensen reports.

    (Published Sunday, April 23, 2017)

    Mulvaney easily sidestepped a controversy in which he failed to pay payroll taxes on a nanny he employed from 2000-2004.

    While Pruitt's nomination to lead EPA has been praised by Republicans and the fossil fuel industry, Democrats and environmental groups said his confirmation would be a disaster.

    "During the campaign, President Trump pledged to dismantle the EPA," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. "In Scott Pruitt, he found just the man to carry out his vision."

    In his current position as Oklahoma's state attorney general, Pruitt has frequently sued the agency he hopes to lead, including filing a multistate lawsuit opposing the Obama administration's plan to limit planet-warming carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pruitt also sued over the EPA's recent expansion of water bodies regulated under the Clean Water Act. It has been opposed by industries that would be forced to clean up polluted wastewater.

    Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    [NATL] Drive-Thru Pot Dispensary Opens in Colorado

    When you think of a drive-thru, fast food probably comes to mind. But what about marijuana? Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru in Parachute, Colorado, is the first of its kind. After nearly a year of preparation, the drive-thru pot shop opened for business on 4/20. 

    "Their timing couldn't have been better in my opinion, I mean everybody wants to celebrate," said Kyle Steele, a customer at the drive-thru.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)

    Like Trump, the 48-year-old Republican has previously cast doubt on the extensive body of scientific evidence showing that the planet is warming and that man-made carbon emissions are to blame. Pressed by Democrats during his Senate confirmation hearing, however, Pruitt said he disagreed with Trump's earlier claims that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese to harm the economic competitiveness of the U.S.

    "I do not believe climate change is a hoax," Pruitt said.

    Democrats have also criticized Pruitt's close ties to the oil and gas industry. Though Pruitt ran unopposed for a second term in 2014, campaign finance reports show he raised more than $700,000, much of it from people in the energy and utility industries.

    "Republicans rewrote the rules so that Pruitt can seize control of the EPA and throw critical clean air and water rules out," said Liz Perera, the climate policy director for the Sierra Club.

    Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    [NATL] Protester, Official React to Arkansas Execution

    Just before midnight Thursday, Arkansas announced it had executed death row inmate Ledell Lee. He is the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire. A protester and a spokesperson for the governor reacted to the controversial execution.

    (Published Friday, April 21, 2017)