All eight Republicans on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works boycotted a scheduled vote on the confirmation of Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In effectively blocking the previously scheduled confirmation vote, the senators said they were expressing their dissatisfaction with McCarthy’s answers to their questions.
According to Senate rules, two or more Republicans are needed to move the vote forward. Chairman of the committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) scheduled the May 9 vote on May 2.
“For too long EPA has failed to deliver on the promises of transparency espoused by President Barack Obama, former Administrator Lisa Jackson, and by Gina McCarthy. Accordingly, the Republicans on the EPW Committee have asked EPA to honor five very reasonable and basic requests in conjunction with the nomination of Gina McCarthy, which focus on openness and transparency,” according to a statement posted on the Republican section of the committee’s website.
The senators said the McCarthy has “stonewalled on four of the five categories.”
Boxer told media outlets she is “stunned” at this development. Boxer has said McCarthy is “a strong, bipartisan candidate and is the right person for the job.”
McCarthy is currently the assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, a position she has served since 2009.
A native of Boston, McCarthy came to Washington after serving as the top state environmental regulator in Massachusetts and Connecticut under Democratic and Republican governors.
EPA deputy administrator Bob Perciasepe has been the EPA’s acting administrator since the retirement of Lisa P. Jackson, who served as administrator during Obama’s first term.