House passes pesticide regulations bill

The House on Thursday passed legislation to eliminate a permit requirement for pesticides already subject to federal regulations.

Passage of the bill, 267-161, comes three days after it failed to win approval under suspension of the rules.

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A two-thirds majority is needed for legislation to pass under suspension of the rules. With 401 members voting, it needed 268 to pass. It fell 15 votes short with the 253-148 tally.

But only a simple majority was needed after it came up under a rule.

The legislation would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring a permit for the discharge of a regulated pesticide into navigable waters.

Republicans said the extra permit requirement did not provide any health or environmental benefits.

"This is a good bill that reduces burdensome regulations without rolling back any environmental safeguards," said Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio).

Democrats said eliminating the permit would potentially harm public health.

"This legislation will undermine one of our nation's most successful environmental laws, the Clean Water Act, in limiting the potential contamination of our Nation's waters by pesticides," said Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.).

The failed suspension is the second in as many weeks. Last Tuesday, the House rejected a bill to create a program with the Department of Energy to research minerals used in manufacturing. A vote has not been rescheduled. 

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