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Illinois Senators Durbin & Duckworth To Vote No On Trump Cabinet Picks

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 6, 2017 10:21PM

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin greets supporters at a rally opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act in January. Photo by Aaron Cynic.
Both Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are planning “no” votes on at least two of President Donald Trump’s many controversial cabinet appointments.

In a series of tweets from a press conference with the Sierra Club Monday morning, Durbin said he would oppose the appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Duckworth has previously indicated her opposition to the appointment.

“He is a climate [change] denier,” said Durbin, according to the Sun-Times. “He is one who even questions the premise as to whether human activity is causing a change in the world we live in and this is the man chosen by President Trump to run the number-one environmental protection agency in the world?”

Pruitt is opposed not only for his...sketchy at best views on climate change, but his connections to the oil and gas industries. On Monday, 447 EPA employees sent a letter to Senator’s urging opposition.

Different administrators have come to different conclusions about how best to apply the law in view of the science, and many of their decisions have been challenged in court, sometimes successfully, for either going too far or not far enough,” the group wrote, according to The Hill. “But in the large majority of cases it was evident to us that they put the public’s welfare ahead of private interests. Scott Pruitt has not demonstrated this same commitment.”

Over the weekend, Durbin, the Assistant Minority Leader in the Senate, said he would oppose Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Besty Devos.

"Not only does she have no government experience, little or no educational experience, she really brings to this job a philosophy which I think is too extreme," Durbin told reporters, the State Journal-Register reports.

Devos has faced criticism from politicians, educators, unions representing teachers, and a host of other advocates for education for her support of rampant education privatization. In a statement last week, Duckworth criticized Devos for her “zealous advocacy for laws that redirect money from public schools towards private schools without adequate accountability.” Additionally, the newly elected Senator, who handily beat Mark Kirk in the November 2016 election, said she was “troubled” by statements Devos made regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

“I was also stunned by her apparent lack of knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - a federal law that requires schools across the nation to equitably educate students with disabilities,” said Duckworth.