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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 McConnellOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump says GOP will support pre-existing condition protections | McConnell defends ObamaCare lawsuit | Dems raise new questions for HHS on child separations Poll finds Dems prioritize health care, GOP picks lower taxes when it's time to vote The Hill's 12:30 Report — Mnuchin won't attend Saudi conference | Pompeo advises giving Saudis 'few more days' to investigate | Trump threatens military action over caravan 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 CardinGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Dem senator: Trump accepts Saudi denials because he is 'enamored' with dictators Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP 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.