Senate committee moves chemicals bill without GOP support

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Sen. Frank Lautenberg's (D-N.J.) "Safe Chemicals Act." The bill would update the Toxic Substances Control Act by requiring more reporting from chemicals manufacturers and place the burden of proof on those companies to show their chemicals are safe. It also would give the Environmental Protection Agency more freedom to test chemicals.

"This vote is a major milestone in our effort to fix America's broken system for regulating toxic chemicals," Lautenberg said Wednesday.

The chemicals bill will likely fail to muster Republican support in the upper chamber, especially after Lautenberg slipped in an amendment on Tuesday with several changes. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said those late alterations scuttled months of bipartisan efforts.

"I do disagree with [Lautenberg] that today is a landmark or a step forward," Vitter said. "I think it's a step backward."

Meanwhile, the House is teeing up for a Wednesday vote on a bill that would freeze federal regulatory action until average monthly unemployment rates for a quarter reaches 6 percent or less.