Senators press Scott Pruitt over lavish spending in EPA hearing Wednesday morning

Pruitt requested 24/7 security on day one at EPA, internal watchdog says

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he's exhausted of waiting for E-P-A director Scott Pruitt to follow through on issues surrounding ethanol and wants him to take action or quit.

On a conference call with agriculture reporters Tuesday Grassley said Pruitt had better follow through with ethanol mandates or "I'm going to be calling for Pruitt to resign because I'm done playing around with this". The latest was announced Tuesday, when Democratic lawmakers released a letter from the inspector general initiating a investigation into Pruitt's use of multiple email accounts, and the agency's compliance with requests for records under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

The EPA has said that the first-class flights were necessary, because of security threats against Pruitt.

The questioning was notably more aggressive than during appearances Pruitt made before House subcommittees last month, during which the Republican chairman repeatedly cut off Democrats the moment their limited time expired and allowed Pruitt not to answer. Pruitt, under pressure from Congress for his high travel and security spending in his position at America's top environmental regulator, has said his 24-hour security was installed due to unusual threats against him.

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The EPA has spent about $3 million on Scott Pruitt's 20-member full-time security detail, which is more than three times the size of his predecessor's part-time security contingent.

President Donald Trump said last week he continues to have confidence in Pruitt even as criticism of his EPA chief has increasingly been coming from fellow Republicans.

Several Democrats on the subcommittee, including Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Patrick Leahy, have called for Pruitt's resignation.

As Pruitt left the hearing room, protesters trailed him through the halls of the Senate office building shouting "Mr. Pruitt, you should be fired!" and "You should be ashamed, Mr. Pruitt".

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