By Jennifer Kalish, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (May 16, 2013) — In a second attempt to approve the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved the nomination along partisan lines, 10-8.
The vote was delayed last week when all eight Republican committee members boycotted the hearing saying they had concerns over transparency within the agency and Ms. McCarthy's failure to answer more than 1,000 questions posed by the Republicans.
In today's hearing, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., acknowledged that the EPA has responded to their requests regarding transparency and is working toward a solution.
"As of last night, there's been meaningful progress in terms of our five key transparency requests, and that's why we're here today—to recognize that progress and to urge additional progress," Mr. Vitter said.
However, Mr. Vitter clarified in a letter sent to Ms. McCarthy and the acting EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe that he would not support her nomination on the Senate floor unless further progress is made.
"Should major additional progress be made in all of the five categories over the next two weeks, I will strongly support handling the McCarthy nomination on the senate floor without a closure vote or any 60-vote threshold," he said. "Should all of our requests in the five categories be granted, I will support the McCarthy nomination."
Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and many of her Democratic colleagues on the committee, were upset by the way the Republicans handled the nomination process.
"It's kind of holding somebody hostage until you get an answer that you want to have," she said at the hearing. "The time has come for this committee to vote on this highly qualified nominee, and to move Gina's nomination to the full senate.
"This meeting has been delayed for four weeks, and now we must forward."
If the Republicans choose to filibuster the nomination, Ms. McCarthy would need 60 votes for the Senate to vote on her confirmation.
This report appeared on the website of Waste & Recycling News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.