McCarthy heads toward Senate confirmation

The nomination of Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, cleared a procedural hurdle Thursday that nearly assures her confirmation.

The Senate voted 69 to 31 to proceed to eight hours of debate and a final vote on her nomination, which will likely happen late today or early Friday.

The nomination needed a minimum of 60 votes to move forward.

McCarthy headed Connecticut’s environmental protection agency under the administration of former Republican governor Jodi Rel.

She was one of seven executive branch nominees whose nominations have been stalled by Republicans before a deal was reached this week.

Under the deal reached Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and a group of Republican senators, the holds on McCarthy and most of the nominees were dropped in return for the withdrawal of two of Obama’s candidates for the National Labor Relations Board.

But the lopsided procedural vote does not mean McCarthy, now head of the EPA’s air quality department, does not have her detractors.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said she was responsible for regulations and taxes that have hurt the coal and oil industries.

“She has been at the center…of that draconian action,” Vitter said.