Republican congressman calls for Trump's EPA chief to resign

“I did not know that they got pay raises until yesterday,” Pruitt said

This post has been updated.

Pruitt also is coming under withering criticism for renting a condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist under unconventional lease terms that permitted him to pay $50 only on days it was actually occupied - with a total of $6,100 in payments over a roughly six-month period.

In 2016, the EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a technical paper. Officials said he did not disclose his housing situation to at the time. He announced new fuel standards at an event at EPA headquarters in downtown Washington, revealing little of the internal tumult which has gripped his agency. The logistics would have proved hard for Pruitt to attend said events, though federal officials are allowed to attend political events in their off-time, The Daily Beast noted.

The White House has grown tired in recent weeks of the scrutiny of administration staffing after a wave of departures - some voluntary and others forced - weakened morale.

The announcement is the latest in a series of moves by Trump and Pruitt to dismantle Barack Obama's environmental legacy, moves that have drawn some scrutiny for their pace and breadth.

Pruitt's aides took advantage of that suggestion, heavily pushing it to reporters, which irked Sessions's allies in the administration, who pointed out that the President often floats several people a day for jobs that aren't available.

"I hope he's going to be great", Trump said Tuesday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But multiple senior administration officials confirmed that the president had called Pruitt Monday night to convey his support.

"Keep your head up", the president reportedly added.

The drafted restrictions would be unrealistic, according to this official, but Pruitt tried to "package it for the President so that it looks that way".

One official at the White House described Pruitt as taking extra steps to curry favor with Trump, including suggesting tacking on additional import restrictions onto a review of fuel efficiency regulations as a way to strengthen the administration's aggressive stance on tariffs and trade. After the pay increases were shot down however, he found another way.

After graduating in 2014 from Oklahoma State University, where she majored in hotel and restaurant administration, Hupp spent less than a year working at an Embassy Suites hotel near the Nashville airport as a business travel sales manager, according to her online résumé and LinkedIn page.

"Obama's EPA cut the midterm evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn't comport with reality and set the standards too high", Pruitt wrote in a recent statement. In that role, she solicited donations to his political coffers and scheduled fundraising meetings and travel for him.

Since both women were political appointees, Pruitt had to first gain approval.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations.

A provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act allows the EPA administrator to hire up to 30 people into the agency, without White House or congressional approval.

The two staffers suddenly in the spotlight both accompanied Pruitt on his trips to Italy and Morocco previous year.

Pruitt asked that Greenwalt's salary be raised from $107,435 to $164,200; Hupp's, from $86,460 to $114,590. On Tuesday, Democrats in the Senate and House also joined watchdog groups in asking the EPA's inspector general to scrutinize the rental arrangement.

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