EPA Chief Faces Scrutiny on Capitol Hill

Lawmakers on Thursday peppered Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt with questions on ethics and spending allegations that have prompted bipartisan calls for his ouster. An Associated Press report says the EPA boss was on the defensive as he blamed “half-truths” and “twisted” allegations as attempts to undermine the Trump administration’s anti-regulatory agenda.

The public questioning on Capitol Hill comes after a month-long bout of headlines surrounding his outsized security spending, first-class flights, as well as a sweetheart deal on a condo lease from a lobbyist.

Republicans who support Pruitt’s policy agenda are beginning to say his lapses in judgment can no longer be ignored. Democrats attacked Pruitt at the opening of the hearing. New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone said, “You are unfit to hold public office.”

President Donald Trump is standing by his EPA chief. However, White House officials say behind closed doors that Pruitt’s job is in serious jeopardy. Pruitt addressed the allegations against him in passing during his opening statement. He did acknowledge there’s been “a learning curve” and that “facts are facts, fiction is fiction.”