UPDATE: Collins voted against delaying Pruitt’s confirmation vote, which failed in a strict party-line vote, 48-51. The measure would have required 60 votes to pass, so Collins clearly knew it had no chance of passing, but by voting against, she made it crystal clear that she was unwilling to spend a dime of political capital to try to stop Pruitt. She of course voted no in the final vote, which resulted in confirmed 52-46: Collins was only R to vote no, Heitkamp & Manchin broke D ranks as expected, and McCain and Donnelly were absent. Collins must be counting on getting headlines as the only Republcisn to oppose, but the truth is that there is much more she could have done to stop Pruitt. We need to let her know that her seeming policy of voting against McConnell only when he allows her to ain’t gonna fly with Mainers anymore. Please call again to let her know how disappointed you are that she didn’t work to delay the Pruitt vote!
The Senate is scheduled for a final vote to confirm Scott Pruitt to head the EPA at 1pm today. Collins announced earlier this week she would oppose him, but she’s the only R to do so, and Heitkamp & Manchin–two red state Dems from fossil fuel producing states–are supporting Pruitt. Interestingly, John McCain is apparently missing today’s vote due to travel, so if vote is held today as planned, Pruitt will get confirmed 52-47.
However, just yesterday a judge ordered that 2,500 e-mails between Pruitt and the fossil fuel industry must be released by Tuesday, which has led Senate Dems to start demanding that the final vote be delayed until after those e-mails are released. Since the Senate is in recess next week, that would be mean a delay of at least 10 days, long enough for the needed 4 votes to be flipped, especially with likely damning revelations in the e-mails and lots of pressure from constituents over the recess week. As we saw with Puzder’s unexpected withdrawal this week, which was likely triggered by an old Oprah tape, votes can flip if there’s the right level of scandal and focused national attention.
Which brings us to Collins. While it’s great that she’s voting against Pruitt, she made the announcement knowing full well that he’d have the votes needed to be confirmed. With her pivotal role in the Senate, we need to start expecting her to do more than just showing up to cast her final vote. If she’s truly passionate about what she’s voting against, she should be willing to spend political capital to lobby her R colleagues and bring them to her side. If you only vote no when you’re given permission to do so by Mitch McConnell, you’re not being a principled politician, but a craven one.
In this case, the only reasonable and principled choice is to delay the Pruitt vote a week so that all this new, highly relevant information to his nomination can be considered. Call Collins NOW to ask her to push her colleagues for a delay! After 1pm it will be too late!
Thanks for all you do,