Senate moves toward confirming Trump EPA air nominee

Senate moves toward confirming Trump EPA air nominee
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The Senate on Wednesday advanced President Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air and Radiation, setting up a final vote later in the week.

The Senate voted 49-46 to end debate on William Wehrum’s nomination to be assistant administrator of the agency. If confirmed this week he will be only the second of Trump’s EPA nominees installed at the agency.

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Republicans broadly support Wehrum’s nomination, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) saying he will “help undo some of the damage of the Obama administration” because Wehrum would have a host of agency regulations under his purview.

"This is an office in desperate need of new leadership from an individual who understands how to implement policies in a balanced way, rather than with extreme regulatory overreach,” he said during debate on Wednesday.

Democrats have blasted Wehrum’s nomination, noting his legal work on behalf of fossil fuel industries he would soon be regulating.

“How can we ask Mr. Wehrum to objectively administer the Clean Air Act after a career spent on one side?” said Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' Dems put hold on McFarland nomination over contradictory testimony: report MORE (D-Md.). “He has 20 years-plus working for the industry as a lobbyist.”

The Senate could vote to confirm Wehrum as soon as Thursday.