EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faced two very different crowds Thursday during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment.
On one side of the aisle, Democrats pressed him on his lavish security and office furnishing costs, rollbacks of Obama-era environmental protections and reports of retaliation against whistleblowers.
Many Republicans, on the other hand, thanked Pruitt for his work and apologized for their colleagues. Here are some highlights:
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX): “Mr. Administrator, you’re not the first person to be the victim of, for lack of a better term, Washington politics […] If you can’t debate the policies in Washington you attack the personality, and that’s what’s happening to you.”
Rep. David McKinley (R-WV): “To the public, I think this has been a classic display of innuendo and McCarthyism that we’re seeing too often here in Washington that, unfortunately, I think, works against civility and respect for people in public office. I was hoping we would be able to stay on policy today as much as we could but I can see some just can’t resist the limelight, the opportunity to grandstand.”
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): “I do believe that public officials have a standard of conduct that should be beyond reproach, but so should members of Congress. And I think it’s shameful today that this hearing has turned into a personal attack hearing and a shameful attempt to denigrate the work that’s being done at the EPA and with this administration, and make this a personal attack rather than focus on what we’re here to talk about, which is the budget and the functioning and the policy work being done at the EPA.”
Rep. Greg Harper (R-MS): “It appears that it’s become a political bloodsport to try to destroy anybody associated with the Trump administration, and I want to say thank you for what your agency’s done.”
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC): “I apologize for the abrasiveness of some of my colleagues who would rather tarnish your character than really try to delve into the issues facing this great nation.”