Democrats Block Vote on Leavitt’s Nomination to EPA

As expected, Senate Democrats blocked a committee vote yesterday on President Bush’s nominee to head the U.S. EPA, Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R). Though they insisted it was “nothing personal” against Leavitt, Democrats on the Senate Environment Committee, joined by independent Sen. James Jeffords (Vt.), boycotted a committee meeting and thereby denied the quorum needed for a vote to send Leavitt’s nomination to the Senate floor. Jeffords said he and his Democratic cohorts want responses from Leavitt and the Bush team to numerous questions about the administration’s environmental policies. “The American public needs answers,” Jeffords said. “The Bush administration is weakening the Clean Air Act, it is weakening the Clean Water Act, and it is not cleaning up Superfund sites. We have a right to know why. These are life-and-death issues.” The committee vote has been rescheduled for Oct. 15.