America

Obama Taps Nominees For EPA, Budget Office And Energy Department

Calling them "three outstanding individuals" who will help him tackle some tough problems, President Obama on Monday morning nominated:

— Gina McCarthy, currently an assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, to lead that agency. She would succeed the departed Lisa Jackson.

— Ernest Moniz to be the next secretary of energy, replacing Steven Chu, who like Jackson decided not to stay for Obama's second term. Moniz is director of MIT's Energy Initiative and is a former undersecretary at the department.

— Sylvia Mathews Burwell, to head the Office of Management and Budget. She is president of the Walmart Foundation and served as deputy director at OMB in the late 1990s. She would replace Acting OMB Director Jeffrey Zients.

NPR's Scott Horsley previewed the nominations earlier today. All three nominations are subject to Senate confirmation. According to Scott:

"The new EPA Administrator could be the biggest lightning rod, given that agency's high profile in administration efforts to combat climate change. While the president has said he would prefer to attack greenhouse gases through legislation, the odds of passing a bill appear slim. A comprehensive climate bill failed in 2010, even though Democrats still controlled both houses of Congress."

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