EPA nominee in limbo as Republicans press for documents

“Throughout this process, EPA has insufficiently responded to our requests, making verbal commitments not yet backed by tangible action,” Vitter, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe in a Wednesday letter.

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Republicans have charged that the EPA has refused to fully address concerns it has about transparency at the agency — and Vitter has raised the issue about the information the EPA uses to write rules, which industry and the GOP oppose, more than once.

During the committee vote that advanced McCarthy’s nomination to the full Senate, Vitter said the EPA must make a concerted effort to answer those questions to avoid a filibuster of the nomination.

Vitter said he would give Perciasepe one week to come up with a plan to honor Republicans' requests.

Democrats argue Republicans are being “obstructionist” by stalling President Obama’s appointments. They say GOP lawmakers are quibbling over a few questions when McCarthy has already responded to 1,000 of them.

Still, Democrats have worried they don’t have the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster on McCarthy.

Some have discussed going “nuclear” to disarm filibusters on presidential nominees.

That option refers to changing Senate rules through a majority vote to bar the GOP from using the 60-vote filibuster.

While favored by a number of Democrats, others fear it would be turned against them if Republicans regain the upper chamber.