Leavitt Nomination Advances to Full Senate

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:29 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Leavitt's nomination, approved by a vote of 16-2, now goes to the full Senate, where it will hit another snag. The two committee Democrats voting against Leavitt were Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut .

In a press release, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) urged opponents of President Bush's environmental policies to "stop playing political games with the nomination of this fine man.

"I'm hopeful that he will get the up-or-down vote he deserves," said Cornyn, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. "He is a highly qualified and experienced administrator, and will serve our nation and the environment well when the partisans end the obstruction and allow a vote in the full Senate."

According to Cornyn, four Senators are blocking Leavitt's nomination - "a pattern that has grown all too familiar in judicial confirmations," he said.

Wire reports named five Democrats as confirmation blockers, and they include Sens. Lieberman and Clinton, as well as Bob Graham of Florida, John Kerry of Massachusetts, and John Edwards of North Carolina. Four of those five announced plans to run for president in 2004, although Graham later dropped out of the race.