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Democrats, led by Sen. Clinton, had treatened a filibuster against Gov. Leavitt, but in the end, he was confirmed overwhelmingly -- even Hillary voted for him.

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Roll Call: Senate Confirms Michael Leavitt as EPA Administrator

Democrats, led by Sen. Clinton, had treatened a filibuster against Gov. Leavitt, but in the end, he was confirmed overwhelmingly — even Hillary voted for him.

On October 28, by a vote of 88 to 8, the Senate confirmed Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt (R.) as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite the fact that Leavitt is considered a moderate on environmental issues, Democrats made a controversy of his nomination, beginning when President Bush first announced it.

Leavitt’s opponents, including a core of leftist senators and their allies in well-funded environmental groups, were unsuccessful in thwarting his appointment, but they did manage to delay it for some time.

Leavitt, the popular three-term governor of the Beehive State, faced his first challenge when Democratic senators boycotted the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s October 1 vote on the nomination. The Chairman, Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.), was forced to delay the nomination.

In the end, Leavitt satisfied some of his critics by presenting his plans for certain environmental issues. But more importantly, most Democrats decided that this was a fight they would not win.

Leavitt, unlike his EPA predecessor, Christie Todd Whitman, could be a formidable adversary to activist goals. Sensing this, environmental extremist groups decried Leavitt’s “lax enforcement of environmental laws against major polluters” as governor of Utah. The complaining groups included Citizens Against Chlorine Contamination, Families Against Incinerator Risk, Friends of the Great Salt Lake, Physicians For Social Responsibility , Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Earth Justice, and Utah Legislative Watch.

Several liberal senators held Leavitt’s nomination hostage for a time, letting it proceed only when the Bush Administration handed over certain data about environmental policy and enforcement. Sen. James Jeffords (I.-Vt.), for example, voted for Leavitt only after being given an administration cost-benefit analysis on an unrelated environmental issue. “It has nothing to do with the qualifications,” he said at the time. “We intend to use the leverage to get the answers we want.”

But ultimately, Leavitt’s nomination passed easily, with votes even coming from some of the most liberal senators in the Senate.

A “yes” vote was a vote to confirm President Bush’s choice of Mike Leavitt as EPA administrator. A “no” vote was a vote against the nomination.

FOR THE NOMINATION: 88 AGAINST THE NOMINATION: 8
REPUBLICANS FOR (51):
Alexander
Allard
Allen
Bennett
Bond
Brownback
Bunning
Burns
Campbell
Chafee
Chambliss
Cochran
Coleman
Collins
Cornyn
Craig
Crapo
DeWine
Dole
Domenici
Ensign
Enzi
Fitzgerald
Frist
Graham (S.C.)
Grassley
Gregg
Hagel
Hatch
Hutchison
Inhofe
Kyl
Lott
Lugar
McCain
McConnell
Murkowski
Nickles
Roberts
Santorum
Sessions
Shelby
Smith
Snowe
Specter
Stevens
Sununu
Talent
Thomas
Voinovich
Warner

DEMOCRATS FOR (36):
Akaka
Baucus
Bayh
Biden
Breaux
Byrd
Cantwell
Carper
Clinton
Conrad
Daschle
Dodd
Dorgan
Feingold
Feinstein
Graham (Fla.)
Harkin
Hollings
Inouye
Johnson
Kennedy
Kohl
Landrieu
Leahy
Levin
Lincoln
Mikulski
Miller
Murray
Nelson (Fla.)
Nelson (Neb.)
Pryor
Reid (Nev.)
Sarbanes
Stabenow
Wyden

INDEPENDENT FOR (1):
Jeffords

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (0):

DEMOCRATS AGAINST (8):
Boxer
Corzine
Dayton
Durbin
Lautenberg
Reed (R.I.)
Rockefeller
Schumer

NOT VOTING: 4

REPUBLICANS (0): DEMOCRATS (4):
Bingaman
Edwards
Kerry
Lieberman
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