President Obama’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency was quickly approved by a Senate committee Thursday when Republicans abandoned their boycott of a vote on the career environmental administrator, after what Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) described as “significant steps forward” on transparency issues important to the GOP.
The Committee on Environment and Public Works voted 10 to 8 along party lines in favor of Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s assistant administrator in charge of air and radiation. The vote sends McCarthy’s nomination to the Senate floor. However, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) still has a hold on her nomination that will have to be withdrawn before a floor vote can occur.
The Democrats in favor of McCarthy included Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (N.J.), 89, who has been ill and traveled from his home state in case his vote was needed to break a logjam. Shortly after the hearing began, Lautenberg was brought into the hearing room in a wheelchair and took his spot next to Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.).