By Celia Raney
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Wednesday are calling for embattled Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt to step down — or be forced out.
“Mr. Pruitt has been even worse than I expected, Sen. Tom Udall (D–N.M.) said at a news conference Wednesday. “The list of abuses just keeps getting longer.”
Udall is the leading sponsor on a formal resolution calling for Pruitt’s termination or resignation, which the senator announced while ticking off a list of “perks” Pruitt has received during his tenure.
Constituents standing behind the senator as he spoke nodded in agreement as he went down the list, citing the rent agreement between Pruitt and the wife of a lobbyist linked to the Keystone Pipeline in Alaska.
The examples of ethical malfeasance included “lavish first-class flights around the world; swanky hotel stays; taxpayers footing the bill for personal trips to Oklahoma; a $43,000 sound booth in his office; taking 30 EPA enforcement officers away from investigating polluters to serve as his round-the-clock personal security details.”
The senator said he plans to reveal the resolution next week and said the House will introduce an identical resolution.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) said he is sponsoring the resolution in an effort to restore government standards.
“Trump and these Republicans are dramatically lowering the bar for government ethics, government accountability and government service,” Schumer said.
The party leader also pointed a finger at President Donald Trump, referencing one of his campaign promises to “drain the swamp” of imperial politicians.
“[Pruitt] is the swamp, he has created a new definition of the swamp. If there are any horrible swamp-like characteristics that a cabinet secretary could have, Pruitt’s got them,” Schumer said, adding that the words that come to mind when thinking of Pruitt’s administration include “elitism, corruption, entitlement, and hypocrisy.”
Citing an incompetent and corrupt administration, Schumer said, “President Trump ought to fire administrator Pruitt or accept his resignation before he can further pollute the swamp or the environment.”
The EPA did not respond to a call or email from TMN for comment.