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Senate confirms acting EPA chief for permanent role

Key Points
  • The Senate has confirmed former coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • President Donald Trump nominated Wheeler after former administrator Scott Pruitt resigned under pressure last year.
  • Senators voted 52-47 on Thursday.
Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), speaks during a Bloomberg Technology Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Senate has confirmed former coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, despite concerns by Democrats and one Republican about regulatory rollbacks he's made in eight months as the agency's acting chief.

Senators voted 52-47 on Thursday to confirm Wheeler, who was nominated by President Donald Trump after former administrator Scott Pruitt resigned under pressure last year.

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate environment committee, called Wheeler "uniquely qualified" and said the EPA under Wheeler is putting forward proposals that "both protect our environment and allow the country's economy to flourish."

But Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said Wheeler was "nominated to unravel and undo the environmental protections that are now in place."

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Market Insider

Trump got a strong economy in 2018, but first quarter of this year looks weak

Key Points
  • Business spending gave fourth-quarter growth a better-than-expected boost, but the consumer is expected to drag down first-quarter GDP.
  • GDP for the fourth quarter grew at a better than expected pace of 2.6 percent, boosting GDP growth for 2018 quarter over quarter to 3.1 percent.
  • The Trump administration has said the economy should grow at a 3 percent or better rate, based on its policies and and the tax cuts.