WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has cleared the way for a vote to confirm President Barack Obama's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Senators voted 69-31 Thursday to end a filibuster that has blocked a vote on Gina McCarthy. McCarthy has headed the EPA's air pollution office since 2009. Democrats consider her an environmental champion, while Republicans say the agency has issued overly strict regulations that have hurt the economy and cost jobs.
McCarthy worked for years as a state environmental official in New England, working at times under Republican governors, including 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. The Senate plans to give final approval to McCarthy's nomination soon, though the exact timing is unclear. The Senate confirmed Thomas Perez to be labor secretary earlier Thursday.