GOP, Dems spar over bill requiring EPA regulatory review

It would also block pending EPA rules relating to two Clean Air Act standards until the analysis is completed.

Democrats protested that the bill is just further evidence that Republicans are looking to thwart the EPA at every turn.

"This bill is really another attempt by the Republican leadership to demonize the Environmental Protection Agency and dismantle any government regulation intended to protection our nation's public health and the environment," Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said, adding that the House should be focusing on job creation.

"H.R. 2401 is waste of time and an absolute insult to the millions of Americans without jobs."

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But Republicans argued that the bill would simply require cost analyses before rules are issued, and said this requirement is needed given how much EPA rules inhibit new job growth.

"The current EPA appears to be driven to regulatory excess, by asserting powers or control in areas where that power or control has never been expressly delegated to the agency by Congress," Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said.

Bishop also rejected an assertion from Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) that the bill would prohibit the pending EPA rules, and said the bill would simply require a cost analysis.

House Rules Committee David Dreier (R-Calif.) sought to dispel the myth that Republicans are anti-environment.

"I'm a Republican, and I'm a Republican who likes to breath clean air and I'm a Republican who likes to drink safe water," he said. "I don't have as a goal, as a priority, the obliteration of air quality or water quality."

After debating the rule for the bill, the House adjourned at about 1:30 p.m., and was expected to return later in the day to vote on the rule. Assuming it passes, two hours of general debate would follow, and possibly work on 12 amendments that have been made in order.