After a five-month long stalemate between Democrats and Republicans, the U.S. Senate finally took action on July 18 and confirmed Gina McCarthy as head of the EPA.
President Obama announced McCarthy as his pick for head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency back in early 2013. However, despite years of experience with the EPA and a proven track record of bipartisan leadership, Republicans worked to block McCarthy’s nomination. All eight Republicans on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works boycotted a scheduled vote on McCarthy’s confirmation after a request to delay the meeting was turned down.
The reason? They were “completely unsatisfied” with answers provided by Gina McCarthy on several topics. (Just FYI, they submitted over 1,000 questions on everything from the EPA’s email policies to its approach to economic analysis). But we all know the real reason: it’s a GOP policy to oppose anything President Obama suggests.
Take the case of former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray: In 2011, President Obama nominated him for the crucial role of head of the then-new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. At that time, Republicans ganged up against Cordray (despite his glowing qualifications), filibustering the vote. It two nearly two years to overcome this obstruction, with Cordray finally being appointed just last week.
The other reason for trying to block McCarthy is that Republicans have a not-so-secret dream of shuttering the EPA forever.
But, like in Cordray’s case, they were ultimately unsuccessful. McCarthy’s appointment is a huge victory for the millions of Americans who made it known that they want the EPA to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants — the single largest source of airborne toxins in America and a leading contributor to the acceleration of climate change.
The path ahead for Ms. McCarthy won’t be easy: there will obstruction at nearly every turn, and industry lobbyists will seek to buy and discredit her. But thanks to the thousands of Care2 members who signed this petition supporting her appointment, she’ll have at least four years to stand up for American interests and reign in the polluters who put our health and environment at risk.
Also check out: 3 Things To Know About Obama’s Pick For EPA Chief
Official EPA portrait via Wikimedia Commons