Scott Pruitt’s Spending Takes Center Stage at Budget Hearing

During the Environmental Protection Agency’s Senate budget hearing Wednesday, lawmakers grilled Administrator Scott Pruitt on his “spending and ethics decisions,” according to The Washington Post. “There have been decisions over the past 16 months that, as I look back, I would not make the same decisions again,” Pruitt said, when given time at the beginning of the hearing to address investigations into his spending habits. “I am concerned that many of the important policy efforts that you are engaged in are being overshadowed because of a series of issues related to you and your management of the agency,” Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. “Instead of being asked about the work you are doing ... I’m being asked, really constantly asked, to comment on [your] security, housing and travel.” Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) called Pruitt’s habits “disastrous” and “a betrayal of the American people.” He added that Pruitt was using his “position of public trust as a golden ticket for extravagant travel and fine dining.” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) expressed doubt about Pruitt’s need to travel first class. “Nobody even knew who you were,” he said. “You have to fly first class? Oh c’mon.”