By Zack Colman - 05/16/13 02:07 PM EDT
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is expected on Thursday to advance the nomination of Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOvernight Energy: Officials close in on new global emissions deal EPA chief: US, negotiators nearing new emissions deal Overnight Energy: Warren defends Exxon probe | Pipeline firm reaches 7M oil spill settlement MORE to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The panel vote on McCarthy was thwarted last week when Republicans staged a boycott, denying Democrats the quorum they needed to move McCarthy's nomination to the Senate floor.
But all of the Democrats on the committee — including Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who missed the last vote due to illness — are expected to attend Thursday's vote, giving them enough members for a quorum even if Republicans are no-shows.
Republicans have said they will attend the vote, however, and Democrats hope one or two of them will even back McCarthy's nomination.
“I think the nomination will move tomorrow. I don’t think there will be a great outpouring of support,” Sen. Roger WickerRoger WickerTop GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races GOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (R-Miss.), a member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday.
McCarthy was serving as EPA's chief air quality regulator when President Obama tapped her to replace Lisa Jackson as administrator.
Luke Bolar, spokesman for committee ranking member David VitterDavid VitterDavid Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Former KKK leader David Duke running for Senate Six senators call on housing regulator to let Congress finish housing finance reform MORE (R-La.), said the EPA has committed to working with Republicans on outstanding issues regarding transparency. That olive branch will be enough for Republicans to attend Thursday’s vote, he said.
But Bolar stressed that the EPA needs to follow through and address the remaining Republican concerns.
No matter the Environment and Public Works vote count, aides on both sides of the aisle expect a significant amount of “no” votes for McCarthy when her nomination gets to the floor.
Whether there’s enough support for McCarthy among Republicans to build a filibuster-proof majority is yet to be seen.
Some Democrats have floated the idea of using the “nuclear option” to prevent filibusters of presidential nominees if Republicans decide to block McCarthy or President Obama's Labor secretary nominee, Thomas PerezThomas E. PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE.
While some Democrats support the idea, others believe it would set a bad precedent, and that it could be used against them if Republicans regain the Senate.
Democrats say Republicans are objecting more to the EPA’s policies than McCarthy’s qualifications for the job. They maintain she has answered more than 1,000 questions and claim Republicans are being “obstructionist.”
The political nature of the EPA always figured to make the path to confirmation rocky for McCarthy.
Republicans oppose many of the air- and water-pollution rules rolled out under McCarthy’s watch. They say the rules are economically burdensome and that the EPA has overstepped in issuing many of them.