EPA nominee's supporters stress history of work for GOP

Democratic supporters of Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe media’s tactics to silence science at Trump’s EPA Overnight Energy: EPA releases ozone findings | Lawmakers come out against Perry grid plan | Kids sue Trump on climate change Congress must come to terms on climate change regulation MORE, President Obama’s choice to run the Environmental Protection Agency, are highlighting her past work for GOP governors early and often during McCarthy’s Thursday appearance before a Senate panel.

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Supporters hope this history will undercut opposition from Capitol Hill Republicans.

“She has shown a strong bipartisan spirit,” said Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBarbara Boxer recounts harassment on Capitol Hill: ‘The entire audience started laughing’ 100 years of the Blue Slip courtesy Four more lawmakers say they’ve been sexually harassed by colleagues in Congress MORE (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that’s vetting McCarthy’s nomination. “She has worked for both Republicans and Democrats.”

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Mass.), who introduced the Boston native, said McCarthy has a “pragmatic” approach, noting work for governors of both parties in Massachusetts.

“She served in numerous environmental posts in the administrations of no fewer than five governors,” Warren said. “Those of you who are familiar with Massachusetts politics will recognize this as an achievement in and of itself.”

McCarthy is currently the agency’s top air pollution regulator, a role that has drawn scathing attacks from Republican lawmakers who say the agency’s air pollution rules are too aggressive and hurting the coal industry.

McCarthy was previously the top environmental aide to Connecticut’s former GOP Gov. Jodi Rell, and before that worked for several Republican governors of Massachusetts — including failed Republican White House candidate and former Gov. Mitt Romney.


But while McCarthy supporters are emphasizing her state-level work to undercut political opposition, Senate Republicans are stressing McCarthy’s more recent past.

“As head of the EPA's office on air quality since 2009, Ms. McCarthy has been a leader in the administration's war on fossil fuels,” writes Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoScalise: House, Senate ‘pretty close’ on tax bill Top GOP senator: House and Senate 'not that far apart' on tax bill Sunday shows preview: Republicans take victory lap on taxes MORE (R-Wyo.) in The Wall Street Journal Thursday.

Sen. David VitterDavid VitterThe Senate 'ethics' committee is a black hole where allegations die Questions loom over Franken ethics probe You're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat MORE (La.), the committee’s top Republican, opened the hearing with attacks against the EPA’s record under Obama, including what he called a disturbing lack of transparency.

“I am concerned ... that the central functions of the agency have been obfuscated by ideology,” Vitter said.

He riffed off of McCarthy’s recent comment that “information is power.”

“Apparently she believes that withholding information is power,” Vitter said.