GOP Senators Skip Work, Block EPA Nominee

The President’s nominee to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, has shown an ability to reach across the aisle to work with Republicans, Democrats, industry leaders, automakers and public health advocates alike to develop pragmatic and cost effective safeguards that protect public health and reduce carbon pollution. As NRDC’s President Frances Beinecke wrote a few weeks ago, “McCarthy has proven to be a pragmatic and inclusive defender of environmental protections.”

Which is why it is outrageous that Republican Senators today choose to skip today’s meeting during which they were scheduled to vote for or against Ms. McCarthy’s nomination to proceed to the full Senate for confirmation.

The eight Senators who didn't show up to vote

The truants claim that McCarthy hasn’t adequately answered their more than 1,000 questions of her – way more questions than the usual nominee has to answer. Yet, the EPA has provided 234 pages of responses to these questions, and McCarthy has met 42 Senators including every member of the committee, and repeatedly met with the office of boycott ringleader Senator Vitter. Continuing to claim that McCarthy hasn’t responded enough or adequately is just hooey, as my colleague John Walke explains thoroughly in his blog.

McCarthy has previously been confirmed by the Senate – for the job she holds right now – making it crystal clear that what’s behind this has nothing to do with Gina McCarthy. Instead, the GOP simply seems to be taking advantage of an opportunity to make it harder for the EPA – the protector of the air we breathe and the water we drink – to do its job.

On the other hand, Public Campaign is reporting that three of the skipping Senators are attending fundraisers, two of them with polluters. So, maybe they weren’t all missing today’s vote just to emphasize a baseless, politically driven complaint.

Anyway, the bottom line is that these Senators are holding up the President’s eminently-qualified choice to head the agency charged with protecting our kids’ health from dangerous air pollution. 

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