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Administrator Scott Pruitt Defends Proposed EPA Budget
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Administrator Scott Pruitt Defends Proposed EPA Budget

 

On June 15, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies questioned EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt about the agency’s proposed budget for 2018.
Mr. Pruitt offered few specific details in defense of the administration’s budget, but he did say he “believed we can fulfill the mission of our agency with a trimmed budget.” In his prepared comments, Pruitt mostly stayed away from the finer points of the agency’s budget that seeks a $2.4 billion reduction, or 31 percent. The hearing saw Pruitt frequently agreeing with lawmakers who were defending programs the Trump administration is looking to eliminate. Pruitt allowed that many of the programs were indeed worthwhile.

 

A number of Republican lawmakers were quick to point out that the administration’s plan was a non-starter. “I am here just to remind everybody that the power of the purse resides here on Capitol Hill,” committee chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) said at the start of the proceeding. Another lawmaker, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), also predicted some cuts but assured Pruitt he would get more money than requested. “I can assure you are going to be the first EPA administrator that has come before this committee in eight years that actually gets more money than they asked for,” Cole said. “It doesn't mean you'll get as much as you had but you'll do better than you asked for,” he added.

 

In several instances, Pruitt sought lawmakers' input on how the administration should proceed even as he distanced himself from the White House proposal. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) acknowledged partisan divisions over the Trump administration's repudiation of the Paris climate agreement but blasted the budget plan for also proposing to zero out an array of voluntary emissions reduction initiatives, including Energy Star, Natural Gas Star, and the Combined Heat and Power Partnership.

 

The video of Administrator Pruitt’s testimony can be viewed here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?429947-1/epa-administrator-pruitt-testifies-fy-2018-budget

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