Senate postpones votes on Trump nominees Perry, Zinke
- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has indefinitely suspended confirmation votes on Donald Trump's nominees to lead the Department of Energy and Department of Interior, The Hill reports.
- The committee on Monday said the votes would be delayed "until further notice," but offered no reason for the delay and did not reportedly respond to requests for comment.
- In the Environment and Public Works Committee, Democrats will continue their campaign against Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), Trump's pick for the EPA, by holding a panel discussion with environmental groups today, according to Politico. No vote has yet been set for Pruitt.
Monday's postponement of confirmation votes on Perry and Zinke was received with surprise by many inside the Beltway. Though Democrats grilled both nominees on climate science and their commitment to their respective departments, they were not seen as particularly controversial picks.
In his hearing, Perry pledged to protect climate and renewable energy programs at DOE in the face of a leaked budget proposal showing that the Trump team is considering gutting the agency.
The former Texas governor promised to protect "all the science" at DOE and preserve the agency's mission, but did not commit to preserve existing departments and programs by name.
In the earlier hearing for DOI, Zinke pledged not to support the sale of federal lands — a longtime GOP priority — and to support energy development of all types.
Both those Trump nominees and Pruitt, his EPA pick, edged closer to mainstream science by saying they believe the climate is changing, but broke with the consensus by saying there is still room for debate on the causes. Climate scientists hold that humans are the overwhelming cause of global warming since the middle of the 20th century.
While the energy votes were delayed, other confirmations are moving forward. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared Trump's pick for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, pushing him closer to final confirmation. Tillerson has voiced his support for maintaining "a seat at the table" for the Paris climate accord, which aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius this century.
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