Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., defended his decision Friday to call for a suspension of committee rules to push through Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency and bypass Democrats who boycotted Thursday's vote.
"When you take a look at how George W. Bush was treated, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, each new president coming into office was allowed to get his cabinet in place," the Barrasso, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, told Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "Donald Trump deserves the same."
However, Democrats, lead by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have been obstructing the cabinet confirmation process "every step of the way," Barrasso said.
"By this point in any of those three other administrations, take a look at the numbers, they had their cabinets in place," Barrasso said. "Right now we have very few cabinet members who have actually been confirmed. So, we suspended the rules.
"Scott Pruitt was voted out of the committee and will go to the floor of the Senate and be approved."
The EPA "desperately" needs a new administrator, he continued, following the numerous regulations from former President Barack Obama that hurt jobs and the economy.
Barrasso's committee approved Pruitt's nomination by an 11-0 roll call vote Thursday, sending him to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.
Meanwhile, Barrasso called Schumer's control of his Democratic members and their actions "political theater" and declared Pruitt is the right person to head the EPA.
"He protected the environment and strengthened economy and fought for states rights," said Barrasso.
Further, while Democrats have complained they did not receive relevant documents and answers concerning Pruitt, Barrasso said there was plenty of opportunity to question the nominee, but "they didn't like the answers they got" for their more than 1,000 questions.
"They have a different view of the EPA," Barrasso said. "The EPA under President Obama has actually been punishing with its regulations and hurt jobs, hurt the economy, hurt working America. We need to fundamentally change the direction of the EPA. Get it back to its original mission. I believe we can protect and must protect the environment, and at the same time not hurt the economy. We can have a strong and healthy economy – at the same time we can have a wonderful environment."
The same kind of delays are reaching to Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump's pick to fill the seat of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrasso said.
"People on the Democratic side of the aisle said they're opposed to him, not even hearing the name first," Barrasso said. "This is a nominee for the Supreme Court who had bipartisan support when he got onto the 10th Judicial Court. This is all obstructionism. I think it's a mistake."
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