White House rips GOP on EPA nominee: ‘Stop the theater’

Olivier Knox

The White House on Thursday ripped Senate Republicans for stalling votes on the confirmation of President Barack Obama's nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.

“There has been a historic level of obstructionism, absolutely, from the Senate on this nomination and others,“ press secretary Jay Carney told reporters after all eight GOP members of the Senate Environment Committee refused to take part in a scheduled vote that would have sent McCarthy's confirmation to the full Senate for approval.

(Later in the day, a senior Republican Senate aide emailed the verbal equivalent of an eye-roll and a link to this New York Times story, which shows the Democrats using the same tactic in 2003.)

Republicans have reportedly deluged McCarthy with more than 1,000 written questions since her confirmation hearing, drawing charges from Democrats that the purpose is to kill the nomination.

“It just demonstrates the predilection for obstructionism that is bad for the functioning of the federal government in important areas," Carney said. "And we call on Republicans in the Senate to stop gumming up the works when it comes to the confirmation process of nominees who are enormously qualified for the jobs that the president has asked them to fill.”

Pressed on McCarthy's prospects, Carney replied: “We believe that the Senate will confirm her to her post, and we call on Republicans to stop the theater and to move forward with the process.”