The Senate appears to be on course to approving all three of President Obama's picks to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the Dept. of Energy, and the Dept. of Interior.
On April 10, the Senate confirmed Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) CEO Sally Jewell, Obama's nominee to serve as Interior Secretary by an 87-11 vote.
A day earlier, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a confirmation hearing on Obama's pick to lead the Dept. of Energy, Ernest Moniz. And on April 11, the Environment and Public Works Committee held a confirmation hearing on Obama's pick to serve as the next EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy. Although McCarthy faced some tough questioning from Republicans at her hearing, both she and Moniz look to have fairly smooth roads to confirmation.
Environmental and Public Works Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), said that McCarthy, currently EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, is "one of the best qualified nominees ever to come before this committee."
But the committee's ranking member, David Vitter (R-La.), said he wanted to see more transparency at EPA. "I am concerned that the central functions of the Agency have been obfuscated by ideology, frustrated by a severe lack of transparency, undermined by science the agency keeps hidden, and implemented without regard for economic consequences."
However, Vitter and other GOP members of the committee stopped short of saying they would block a vote on her confirmation.
Sen. James Inhofe, (R-Okla.), told McCarthy that if she were confirmed, he hoped to establish a similar type of relationship with her that he had with her predecessor, Lisa Jackson.
"While we disagreed on some policy positions, we were able to get some things done," Inhofe said.
McCarthy told the committee, "What I've learned from my experience at the state and local level is that environmental protection is not partisan … That's why my door is always open."
Boxer said she hoped to have a vote on McCarthy's nomination soon; she did not set a date.