House advances farm dust bill

"I don't think there's a single member of this body that wants to regulate the dust that's kicked up by a truck on a dirt road," Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) argued. "The EPA certainly doesn't. The farmers don't want us to. Members of Congress don't want us to."

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Polis and other Democrats also argued that the House should be working on other issues, like how to extend the payroll tax holiday, rather than the farm dust bill, H.R. 1633. House Republicans are expected to announce a payroll tax proposal later today.

But Republicans said the bill is needed despite EPA Administrator Jackson's recent comments that the EPA does not plan to put a new rule out.

"Despite Administrator Jackson's statement, there is nothing currently on the books preventing the EPA from adopting a stricter regulation," Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) said. "This legislation provides iron-clad certainty that farmers, ranchers, small business owners that farm dust would stay off the EPA's to-do list for at least another year."

Following passage of the rule, the House was set to move to general debate on the bill, and was expected to consider up to eight amendments to the bill later in the day.

On Wednesday, the White House said it would veto the bill; House passage would send it to a hostile Senate that is not expected to take it up.