WASHINGTON — Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan on Wednesday decried a Democratic boycott of a committee vote on the nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency as a "senatorial temper tantrum."
The Environment and Public Works Committee, of which Sullivan is a member, was scheduled to vote on the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, but Democrats on the committee staged a boycott. Without a quorum, the vote could not be held.
Sullivan, an ardent supporter of Pruitt, who has been a leader in states suing the EPA over environmental regulations, called the Democrats' effort a "little embarrassing."
Pruitt "is highly qualified for the EPA administrator job. The EPA needs a serious course correction after the lawless leadership of (former Administrator) Gina McCarthy and Mr. Pruitt has shown that he has the commitment, the intellect, the experience to lead this change and I think that's going to be critical for America," Sullivan said. "It's certainly going to be critical for my state of Alaska."
Sullivan called the Democrat's delay tactic "simply a senatorial temper tantrum."
"And as all the parents here know, temper tantrums waste a lot of energy, but they don't accomplish anything. The American people deserve better, and I ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to come back to the committee. Let's get to work," Sullivan said.
Democrats on the committee have taken issue with Pruitt's nomination and argue that it should not go forward until he answers their questions about his close relationship with energy companies while fighting the EPA.
The boycott move was not without precedent: In 2013, Republicans boycotted the committee's vote to move McCarthy's confirmation vote to the Senate floor.
In 2013, then-minority Republicans saddled McCarthy with more than 1,000 questions, as Democrats did to Pruitt this year. Unsatisfied with the answers, they boycotted the vote. Democrats reacted with shock, and said the nominee deserved a vote, not obstructionism.