House Panels Grill Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Pruitt

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On April 26th, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testified in separate hearings before the environment subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce and Appropriations Committees. Although the hearings were nominally about EPA’s fiscal year 2019 budget, most of the questions, especially from committee Democrats, focused on ethical allegations that have been much in the news over the past several weeks.

According to The New York Times and The Washington Post, committee Democrats were hostile, Republicans mostly cordial. Pruitt and his defenders claimed the allegations of spending and other improprieties are designed to sabotage Trump’s policy agenda, while some opponents urged him to resign.

Pruitt’s written testimony for the E&C hearing deals solely with policy issues. However, he provided the committee a 23-page report responding in detail to all the ethics allegations.

The Hill’s Miranda Green and Timothy Cama offer “five takeaways” from Pruitt’s “big day” on Capitol Hill: (1) He escaped disaster, (2) his strategy was don’t apologize and blame others, (3) Republicans are concerned but criticism was muted, (4) Pruitt has plenty of allies in Congress, and (5) some of his statements [if they prove to be false] could come back to haunt him.