House GOP, Dems spar over EPA's regulatory impact on companies

Democrats recoiled at these arguments — and even the title of the bill — by arguing the EPA does not have the authority to tax companies. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) raised a parliamentary inquiry on whether Republicans had the right to name the bill in a way that implies the EPA has the power to tax.

Republicans countered that the EPA can place indirect taxes on companies by tightening regulatory rules that end up driving costs higher for companies.

Democrats also rejected Republican arguments that the EPA is planning to tax cattle based on their methane emissions. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said this issue has been debunked. "It is a false accusation with regard to livestock," he said.

But Sessions said the EPA's website discusses this issue.

"This EPA is trying to talk about methane produced by livestock," he said. "They're going to blame it on cattle. They're going to tax cattle, they're going to tax the output because that's what they're proposing."

More broadly, Polis said Republican efforts to pass the bill are "nothing less … than a full assault on four decades of progress in protecting Americans from environmental dangers." After a 2 p.m. vote on the rule, the House was expected to debate the bill and then a dozen Democratic amendments on Wednesday before voting on final passage.

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