Senate confirms Labor, EPA nominees: How Harkin and Grassley voted

The U.S. Senate confirmed two cabinet nominees today who had waited since March for an up or down vote in the chamber. The nominations moved forward thanks to a deal negotiated earlier this week. Six Republicans joined the whole Democratic caucus to pass a cloture motion ending debate on the nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor by 60 votes to 40 (roll call). Shortly thereafter, senators confirmed Perez on a straight party-line vote of 54 to 46. Mike Memoli reported that the “Senate Historian can’t find another example” of a cabinet nominee being confirmed on a strict party-line vote. Iowa’s Democratic Senator Tom Harkin voted for cloture and confirmation; Republican Chuck Grassley voted against Perez both times. He did not support the deal designed to reduce filibusters on executive branch nominations.

Later today, senators passed a cloture motion ending debate on Gina McCarthy’s nomination to lead the Environmental Protection Agency by a more comfortable 69 to 31 margin. McCarthy was then confirmed by 59 votes to 40. Again, Harkin supported McCarthy, while Grassley voted against both cloture and her confirmation.

I will update this post if I see any comment from Iowa’s senators on the new cabinet members.

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