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EPA Chief Still Unconfirmed

Partisan wrangling bedevils Lisa McCarthy’s nomination

by Cheryl Hogue , Jeff Johnson
May 27, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 21

A Senate vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency is entangled in Republican political maneuvering.

Regina McCarthy, the President’s choice to captain EPA, is widely respected and has support from industry, state regulators, and environmental groups. But her nomination, announced in March, is moving slowly through the Senate.

Republicans prevented the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s scheduled May 9 vote on McCarthy’s nomination. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the top Republican on the panel, said McCarthy needs to make greater headway in answering some 1,100 written questions that Republicans have asked her about EPA policies.

Vitter agreed to a committee vote on May 16, when the panel approved McCarthy’s nomination 10-8 along party lines.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters that a vote on McCarthy’s nomination would take place in June or July. But Sen. Roy D. Blunt (R-Mo.) is blocking a floor vote on her nomination until the Obama Administration releases a draft environmental impact statement for a flood-control project in Missouri. And Vitter indicated he would filibuster McCarthy’s nomination if she has not made “significant progress” in answering Republicans’ questions.

Another appointee has fared better: Ernest J. Moniz was sworn in last week as energy secretary. On May 16, the Senate approved Moniz’ nomination 97-0.


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