Senate Committee Schedules May 9 Vote On Nomination of McCarthy to Lead EPA

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By Ari Natter

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote May 9 on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced May 2.

Boxer previously told reporters the committee would vote on McCarthy's nomination May 8, but Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and other Republicans on the committee requested a postponement, arguing that McCarthy had not completely responded to a request for information (44 ER 1252, 4/26/13).

In a statement, committee Democrats said McCarthy, who is EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, “has responded to all of the questions submitted by members of the EPW Committee, including over 1,000 questions submitted by Republicans on the Committee.”

“Gina McCarthy is a strong, bipartisan candidate and is the right person for the job at this critical time,” Boxer said in a statement. “The EPW Committee's business meeting is an important step forward in the confirmation process.”

Vitter, the committee's ranking member, said in a statement provided to BNA, “So far, EPA's response to the Committee Republicans' transparency requests has been inadequate. But I remain hopeful that that will improve over the next week.”

Vitter added, “We'll see how much EPA is willing to supplement in the next week, and that will determine how Republican members handle the scheduled mark-up.”

Nomination Expected to Be Confirmed

McCarthy, who was nominated March 4 by President Obama, is widely expected to be confirmed by the Senate.

In addition to the written responses to questions for the record, Republicans on the committee have sent separate requests for more information to McCarthy related to concerns they have about EPA transparency, an issue that was brought up during her April 11 confirmation hearing (44 ER 1077, 4/12/13).

In her current position, which she has held since 2009, McCarthy has overseen some of the agency's most high-profile rules to control greenhouse gases and other forms of air pollution, including proposed carbon dioxide standards for new power plants, mercury standards for power plants, stringent ambient air quality standards, and other regulations.

At the same time, observers have said McCarthy has won a reputation for working with industry groups and note she already won Senate confirmation once before for her current position.

By Ari Natter