Politics

Senate approves Gina McCarthy to head EPA

Gina McCarthy testified before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination in April.

REUTERS/file 2013

Gina McCarthy testified before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on her nomination in April.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has approved Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency, hours after it also approved a new secretary of labor.

McCarthy was approved 59-40. Minutes earlier, senators voted 69-31 to overcome Republican objections against her nomination, nine votes more than are needed to end filibusters.

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McCarthy has headed the agency’s air pollution office since 2009. Democrats consider her to be a longtime environmental champion. Republicans say she has helped write regulations that hurt the economy.

Earlier Thursday, the chamber confirmed Thomas Perez to lead the Labor Department on a 54-46 party-line vote.

The Senate has filled four top Obama administration posts this week. The progress followed a bipartisan deal on Tuesday that freed the nominations for votes and saw Democrats halt efforts to weaken the minority GOP’s powers.

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