Republicans Boycott Vote on Obama’s EPA Pick

U.S. President Barack Obama announces Gina McCarthy as his nominee to head the EPA in a March 4 ceremony in the East Room of the White House.Zhang Jun/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


The Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted a Thursday morning meeting in which they were supposed to vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Republicans on the committee complained that she had not yet adequately responded to their questions.

The vote had been scheduled for 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, but none of the committee’s Republican members showed up.

Politico reports on what transpired:

Committee ranking member David Vitter (R-La.) announced the boycott by all eight GOP members around 8:30 a.m., saying they would deny the panel a quorum because McCarthy and the EPA haven’t provided answers to the questions they’d posed.

Democrats have noted that the questions totaled more than 1,000 — what they call a record. Republicans also had five “requests” for EPA on issues such as how the agency handles outside groups’ threats of litigation — though Democrats said the GOP senators were actually asking the agency to offer major concessions in how it conducts public business.

Democrats on the committee were quick to attack Republicans for this “obstruction.” Committee chair Barbara Boxer noted that the vote had already been delayed for three weeks to accommodate the panel’s Republican members.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid railed on the effort to block McCarthy in a statement on Thursday, noting that the GOP has also blocked President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Labor, Thomas Perez. “This type of blanket, partisan obstruction used to be unheard of,” Reid said. “Now it has become an unacceptable pattern.”

The blockade on McCarthy is even more noteworthy because, as we’ve reported here before, she worked for Mitt Romney back when he was governor of Massachusetts, as well as Connecticut’s Republican former Gov. Jodi Rell.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate