Senate Hears Trump Nominees for Commerce and Environment
Two nominees for the new administration who could have a lot of influence in our region will be on Capitol Hill this week. President-elect Donald Trump’s choices for secretary of commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency both have confirmation hearings in the Senate.
Ross & Commerce
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is questioning Wilbur Ross. Ross is a billionaire who made some of his fortune here in the Ohio Valley buying and selling assets of collapsed coal and steel companies. Ross has supported many democrats in the past, but this election cycle he’s been a close advisor to Trump.
Ross says increasing U.S. exports and reducing the trade deficit would be among his top priorities, as well as integrating more technology in the commerce department to increase efficiency.
Ross’s background is largely a financial advisor, specializing in bankruptcy. He bought up many collapsing coal and steel companies, repackaged and sold them for a major profit. His business dealings have gained him respect and some notoriety.
Pruitt & Environmental Protection
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is interviewing Scott Pruitt -- the attorney general from Oklahoma who’s been nominated to take over the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has spent a lot of his time as attorney general fighting against many federal environmental regulations -- including the current EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which is the first federal policy of its kind designed to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Pruitt says the extent of climate change and its connection to human activity is a debate that’s “far from settled.”