Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg will make a rare appearance in the Senate this week to help move President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency to the floor.
The New Jersey Democrat plans to attend a Thursday Environment and Public Works business meeting to vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be the next EPA administrator, Lautenberg spokesman Caley Gray confirmed Monday.
EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer announced the rescheduled markup in a May 10 letter to ranking member David Vitter, R-La. Vitter and other panel Republicans boycotted an initial markup of the McCarthy nomination last week, citing unanswered questions from the Obama administration.
“As of the date of the upcoming business meeting, this nomination will have been delayed at your request for four weeks. It is time to move forward with her nomination,” Boxer wrote. “I hope you will attend.”
Lautenberg’s vote is critical if Boxer wants to move ahead without any Republicans in attendance. EPW Democratic staff says the parliamentarian’s office has confirmed that the nomination could be ordered reported with 10 “yes” votes from senators physically in attendance. To do that without any GOP senators, Lautenberg must appear.
He’s been largely absent from the Capitol since February because of medical issues.
As for the current debate, Vitter sent another letter Monday to McCarthy and acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe outlining a litany of requests for transparency from the agency that Republicans contend have gone unfulfilled.