Two of President Obama's long-stalled nominees cleared the Senate today, thanks to this week's filibuster deal: Gina McCarthy is the new EPA chief, and Thomas Perez is the new labor secretary, reports the Hill and Wall Street Journal. The big question on Perez is how aggressive he will be on putting into place new workplace regulations, says the Journal. But McCarthy is likely to be in the national spotlight much more because she is charged with shepherding through Obama's ambitious climate change strategy, reports Politico.
That includes "sweeping crackdowns on toxic pollution from power plants, a massive expansion of federal greenhouse gas regulations, and steps to stem the increasingly controversial water pollution problems caused by coal and minerals mining," writes Erica Martinson. How effective she is may go a long way in determining whether Obama's plan lives or dies. Not all appointee news is so rosy, however: John McCain today said he is putting a hold on Gen. Martin Dempsey's nomination to be Joint Chiefs chairman again, reports AP. At a hearing, Dempsey refused to give his personal opinion on the best course for Syria, and McCain (a big advocate of more force), says the nomination won't proceed until Dempsey does so. (Read more EPA stories.)