The first is H.R. 2218, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act. This bill would maintain some federal rules on coal ash, but would let states set out specific standards for this pollutant.
The bills are in line with the sort of deregulation-minded legislation Republicans have pursued since taking over the House in 2011. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said these two additions are needed to pare back federal regulations that are hurting job creation.
"Since the beginning of President Obama's, Lisa Jackson's and Gina McCarthy's tenure with the federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency has promulgated regulations imposing billions of dollars in cost on our critical power infrastructure," he said.
But Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) said the legislation is just two more examples of bills that will go nowhere in the Senate once passed by the House because there has been no Democratic input into the language.
"For any of these important issues to be addressed, members would have to work together to resolve their differences," he said. "Instead, we're spending our time on two bills that my friends across the aisle know will never become law."
Republicans will give Democrats some chance to adjust the bills — the rule as approved makes six Democratic amendments in order, and three Republican amendments.
After passing the rule, the House moved back to the 2014 defense spending bill, H.R. 2397, which members are expected to pass later Wednesday night.