Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) arrives for a classified hearing at the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in October 2017. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

By Dino Grandoni
17 November 2017

(The Washington Post) – Despite the drumbeat of opposition to President Trump's political nominees, Senate Democrats haven't been able to do much to stop Congress from confirming them.

Fourteen Trump picks to executive branch jobs have withdrawn their names after being selected, according to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. Each of those nominees removed themselves from consideration before a Senate committee had the chance to vote.

Thus far, no Trump nominee, however, has actually been defeated by the full Senate -- it only takes 50 votes, remember, to reject a nomination because Senate Democrats when they last held the majority changed the rules to require just a simple majority to approve executive branch and federal judicial nominations (minus the Supreme Court).

Yet, that is.

This week, North Carolina’s two Republican senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, said they would oppose Michael Dourson’s nomination as the top chemical safety official at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The senators raised concerns about Dourson’s track record as a consultant for chemical companies when he was a professor at the University of Cincinnati, where he often produced research finding little or no human health risks for their products. Specifically, Burr pointed to contaminated water documented at a North Carolina military base and an unregulated compound known as Gen X, used to produce Teflon and other products, that was discovered in the Cape Fear River.

“I will not be supporting the nomination of Michael Dourson. With his record and our state’s history of contamination at Camp Lejeune as well as the current Gen X water issues in Wilmington, I am not confident he is the best choice for our country,” Burr said in a statement. [more]

This EPA nominee may be the first Trump appointee to be defeated by Congress

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