Some Republicans said they wouldn’t support McCarthy — currently the agency’s top air quality regulator — because she’d enforce President Obama’s recent announcement to regulate the carbon emissions of existing power plants, which create about a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, largely from burning coal.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCarly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report Democrats vie for chance to take on Trump as California governor MORE (D-Calif.) criticized Republicans for blocking McCarthy, not because she wasn’t qualified but because they hate the mission of the EPA.
“This battle is not about Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyObama EPA chief: Pruitt must uphold ‘law and science’ Overnight Energy: Congress does away with Obama coal mining rule GOP suspends rules to push through EPA pick despite Dem boycott MORE,” Boxer said Thursday. “It’s because a lot of our colleagues would simply say we’d be better off without the EPA.”
Democrats point out that McCarthy’s work on air quality has saved lives and that she is a bipartisan choice because she had worked for former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.). She was Romney’s under secretary of policy at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, and deputy secretary of operations for the cross-cutting Office for Commonwealth Development that Romney created, work that included development of policies on smart growth and climate change.
“Gina McCarthy knows how to bring people together. She knows how to work toward a common goal,” Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order MORE (D-Conn.) said. “She knows how to get to ‘yes’ and she does it as a tough, fair, balanced, environmental law enforcer. ... Gina McCarthy is as good as it gets in public service.”
Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteNH governor 'not aware’ of major voter fraud Former NH AG: 'Allegations of voter fraud in NH are baseless' Ex-NH GOP chair calls Trump's voter fraud bluff with ,000 bet MORE (N.H.), Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (Ga.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeOvernight Tech: GOP chairman to propose high-skilled visa overhaul | Zuckerberg's 5,700 word letter | Tech lobbies gear up ahead of internet fight Senate Dem blasts GOP for trying to repeal broadband privacy rules Planned Parenthood targets GOP lawmakers amid ObamaCare protests MORE (Ariz.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonGOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget Oprah's network provides Senate with tape of abuse allegations by Puzder's ex-wife: report Battle over Trump nominees shifts to new target MORE (Ga.), David VitterDavid VitterMercury brings on former Sen. Vitter, two others Lobbying World Bottom Line MORE (La.), John McCainJohn McCainGraham: Free press and independent judiciary are worth fighting for Drug importation from other countries will save dollars and lives Rand Paul: We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge MORE (Ariz.), Richard BurrRichard BurrComey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties Senate Intel head in the dark about Trump intelligence review DNI confirmation hearing expected on Senate return MORE (N.C.), Thad CochranThad CochranMulvaney sworn in as White House budget chief Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief McCain announces opposition to Trump's pick for budget chief MORE (Miss.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham: Ryan tax plan won’t get 10 votes in the Senate Graham: Free press and independent judiciary are worth fighting for The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (S.C.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP's ObamaCare talking points leave many questions unanswered Overnight Regulation: Trump's new Labor pick | Trump undoes Obama coal mining rule Trump unveils new pick to head Labor Department MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan CollinsPruitt sworn in as EPA chief Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties EPA breaks Twitter silence to congratulate new head MORE (Maine), Bob CorkerBob CorkerGOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps Trump makes nuclear mistake on arms control treaty with Russia The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Tenn.), Mark KirkMark KirkThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump, judges on collision course GOP senator: Don't link Planned Parenthood to ObamaCare repeal MORE (Ill.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsWhere Trump’s travel ban stands Top antitrust senators call for Sessions to scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner merger Dems doubt Trump will show 'heart' toward immigrant kids MORE (Ala.) and Rob PortmanRob PortmanRyan tries to save tax plan Rift in GOP threatens ObamaCare repeal Overnight Tech: GOP split on net neutrality strategy | Trump's phone worries Dems | Bill in the works on self-driving cars MORE (Ohio) voted with Democrats to advance McCarthy's nomination. Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPruitt sworn in as EPA chief EPA breaks Twitter silence to congratulate new head Dem senator: I may face 2018 primary from Tea Party-esque progressives MORE (D-W.Va.) was the only Democrat who opposed her nomination.
Republicans agreed to hold an up-or-down vote on her nomination as part of a deal to avoid Senate rule changes limiting the minority's right to filibuster executive branch nominees.
Some Republicans were trying to hold up her nomination because they said they wanted guarantees from McCarthy that she would run a more transparent EPA.
Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee even boycotted her confirmation hearing in May. Democrats criticized Republicans throughout the process for the boycott and because McCarthy was forced to answer more than 1,000 questions submitted by committee members.
Since then, Vitter, the ranking member, said McCarthy has promised to be more open and work with him on some key concerns of his.
Boxer said this is the longest time that the EPA has been without an administrator, since Lisa Jackson stepped down at the beginning of the year.
“The EPA deserves a leader and this woman, Gina McCarthy, deserves a promotion,” Boxer said.
Ben Geman contributed to this article.