Senate confirms Trump EPA, White House budget nominees

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to the Major County Sheriffs' Association and Major Cities Chiefs Association, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominations under Senate consideration (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s controversial choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency has cleared a key hurdle in the Republican-led Senate.

The Senate has given an initial green light to the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney Gen. Scott Pruitt on a 54-46 vote. Pruitt won unanimous GOP support on Thursday’s procedural tally, but Maine Republican Susan Collins says she’ll oppose him in the final confirmation vote.

Pruitt is strongly opposed by environmental activists and by almost every Democrat. Collins says she doesn’t trust him to protect human health and the environment.

Pruitt has sued the EPA numerous times to try to overturn Obama administration regulations.

Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware gave an uncharacteristically impassioned speech lambasting Pruitt, saying he is a threat to the environment and a global warming skeptic.

___

10:45 a.m.

The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to run the White House budget office, giving Republicans’ tea party wing a voice in Trump’s Cabinet.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney squeaked through the Senate on a 51-49 vote. Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, who’s emerging as perhaps the most vocal Republican critic of the Trump administration, opposed Mulvaney for backing cuts to Pentagon spending.

Mulvaney’s confirmation promises to accelerate work on Trump’s upcoming budget plan. The South Carolina Republican brings staunchly conservative credentials to the post, though Trump has indicated he not interested in tackling popular benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare and wants a major investment in infrastructure programs like highways.

Democrats opposed Mulvaney over his support for curbing the growth of Medicare and Social Security and other issues.

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