Sen. Bernie Sanders questions EPA Administrator Nominee Scott Pruitt about climate change. (Jan. 18, 2017)
Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency kicked off a contentious confirmation hearing Wednesday, expressing doubt about mainstream climate science and harshly criticizing the agency he seeks to lead.
Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt was defiant in the face of questioning from Democratic senators who attacked his record on environmental protection, skepticism about the impact of global warming and financial ties to some of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies.
Pruitt said the EPA’s aggressive enforcement of federal anti-pollution rules during the Obama administration reflects inappropriate overreach that he would change.
Senators seemed satisfied enough in the way that Donald Trump's Commerce secretary pick, billionaire Wilbur Ross, had agreed to divest most of his own vast holdings before assuming the Cabinet post. But the hearing then turned on the question of his future boss in the White House.
"Shouldn't the president do the same?" Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked.
Ross demurred, saying he wasn't familiar enough with Trump's financial assets. Ross didn't disagree with Blumenthal that, as head of Commerce, an agency that oversees patent and trademark issues, he could be put in a very difficult position given that Trump's business has pending trademark applications.
President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be Health secretary refused to say Wednesday whether he would support efforts to expand the government's authority to negotiate lower prices from drug makers, despite Trump’s recent calls to do so.
Testifying before the Senate Health Committee, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) made only a general commitment to help make drugs prices more “reasonable.”
Trump once made the cost of pharmaceuticals a central part of his campaign healthcare pitch. And at his first news conference last week, the president-elect said drug makers were “getting away with murder.”
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) told the Senate health committee Wednesday that he would protect vulnerable Americans if he is confirmed to be President-elect Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary.
“We must strengthen our resolve to keep the promises our society has made to our senior citizens and to those among us who are most in need of care and support,” Price told the committee.
But he did not detail how he would fulfill that pledge, including how he would replace the Affordable Care Act or preserve coverage for the more than 100 million Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. Price has worked for years to cut both.
President Obama will give his final news conference in office Wednesday as questions loom about his last-minute decision to reduce the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army private convicted of leaking classified information.
Obama will defend his decision as one he made in “pursuit of justice,” a senior White House official said, noting that Manning has expressed remorse and spent most of seven years behind bars.
The White House expects Obama to be questioned about a wide array of topics.
Like the man who picked him to be the next Commerce secretary, Wilbur L. Ross is a billionaire with extensive financial interests and an ardent critic of America’s trade policies — both of which will come under scrutiny at his confirmation hearing set for Wednesday morning.
The head of the Commerce Department traditionally hasn’t been a powerful or high-profile Cabinet member. But that could change, as President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has indicated that Ross will spearhead the new administration’s initiatives on trade, an issue that was central to Trump’s campaign and figures to be a dominant part of his economic growth strategy.
Ross, 79, was a top economic advisor to Trump’s campaign, and the two men, who have known each other personally for more than 20 years, share a disdain for trade deals that the U.S. has cut, especially the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.
Haley, the daughter of immigrants from northern India, is a popular Republican governor and is seen as a rising star in the GOP. She is the first female governor of South Carolina, and at 44 is the nation’s youngest governor.
She lacks experience in international diplomacy beyond state trade missions, raising questions about how effective she can be at the world body in New York. But Trump has spoken harshly of the U.N., and Haley’s role may be secondary in his administration.
Pruitt, whose Senate confirmation hearing begins this morning, has been unabashed in his disdain for the agency he is seeking to run. He has worked with big corporate polluters to challenge the agency in court more than a dozen times, charging that federal rules aimed at protecting the environment are an abusive overreach. He has helped lead the movement to unravel President Obama’s signature effort to confront climate change. And he questions mainstream science on global warming.
Pruitt’s crusades against environmental rules – and acceptance of campaign contributions from companies that stood to benefit – have motivated most major environmental groups to demand senators reject his confirmation. One of them, the Environmental Defense Fund, says it has never lobbied against an EPA selection.
From the packed hallways of Atlanta’s massive county hospital to the thousands of patients who line up around the state every year to get Obamacare, yawning gaps in Georgia’s overburdened healthcare system aren’t hard to find.
“The need for care is just tremendous,” said Dr. Charles Moore, a Harvard-trained ear, nose and throat specialist who runs an Atlanta clinic for poor patients.
Georgia has some of the worst health outcomes in the country, with high rates of untreated illness and death from preventable diseases.