GOP boycotts Senate vote on EPA chief
WASHINGTON — Republican senators on Thursday boycotted a scheduled committee vote on President Obama's pick to be the nation's top air and water quality regulator, saying the Environmental Protection Agency had not adequately answered questions about her role as a deputy there.
At least one Republican senator, Roy Blunt of Missouri, placed a hold on Gina McCarthy's nomination to lead the EPA over questions about a levee project in his state.
And the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, David Vitter of Louisiana, asked McCarthy a record-breaking 653 questions out of 1,120 from the full committee.
Those questions, in addition to queries from other Republicans, are considered to be the most ever asked of an administration nominee facing Senate confirmation. McCarthy's predecessor, Lisa Jackson, faced only 157 questions from the same committee, Democrats said.
Vitter and the other seven Republicans on the committee chose not to attend the hearing: James Inhofe of Oklahoma, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, John Boozman of Arkansas and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.
McCarthy serves as the agency's assistant administrator in charge of air and radiation. The Senate unanimously confirmed her for that job during the first Obama administration. Previously, she worked as a state environmental regulator for Obama's 2012 opponent, Mitt Romney, the Republican former governor of Massachusetts. She also worked for a Republican governor in Connecticut.
The chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., on Thursday called the Republican move obstructionist. The vote has been held up for three weeks to give Republicans time to get their questions answered, Boxer said.
Republicans probably won't like the answers, Boxer said, because the answers don't support what she called a “pro-pollution fringe philosophy.” But that does not mean Republican members should refuse to vote, Boxer said.
“Their opposition, even to allowing us to vote, shows how out of the mainstream they are,” Boxer said of the Republicans. “It shows how their pledge to do better with women voters is false.”
Vitter said in a letter to Boxer that the Republicans did not expect Democrats on the committee to agree with their decision. They noted that in 2003, Democratic members of the committee chose not to attend the scheduled vote on Michael Leavitt as President George W. Bush's nominee to head the EPA until the agency responded “more fully to their requests.”
Leavitt faced 305 questions during his confirmation.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New heart drug seen as significant breakthrough
- Border Patrol agent opens fire on armed militia member in Texas
- Pilot in Atlantic Ocean crash lost consciousness, Coast Guard says
- Texas appeals judge’s ruling on restrictive abortion law
- Manatee status as ‘endangered’ draws complaints; classification under review
- Revival of beer gardens in Milwaukee prompts other cities to consider it to shore up budgets
- Squashing stereotypes has women learning carpentry
- Cause of Ohio plane crash that killed 4 Case Western Reserve students unknown
- California governor appeals ruling that struck down schoolteacher tenure
- Half-ton alligator sets world record
- Next hurdle for health care likely tax season