Sen. Boxer blocks chemical safety bill, angering Inhofe

Sen. Boxer blocks chemical safety bill, angering Inhofe
© Francis Rivera

Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerKamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response Billionaire Steyer to push for Dem House push MORE (D-Calif.) is blocking Senate consideration of a measure to overhaul federal chemical safety rules.

Boxer, the most outspoken opponent of the bipartisan effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act, applied her hold on the bill Wednesday to prevent quick consideration of it shortly after Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Finance: Senate rejects Trump immigration plan | U.S. Bancorp to pay 0M in fines for lacking money laundering protections | Cryptocurrency market overcharges users | Prudential fights to loosen oversight Senators introduce bill to help businesses with trade complaints Our intelligence chiefs just want to tell the truth about national security MORE (R-N.C.) agreed to lift a hold he had kept in place for over two months.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, accused Boxer of going back on her pledge to him to allow the legislation to move through consideration.

“It’s simply something that really bothers me because you’re breaking a commitment that you made,” Inhofe told reporters.

“She’s reneged on her commitment,” he said.

Inhofe is hoping to get the bill passed before the end of the week, when senators are scheduled to go home and end the year’s session.

Boxer’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

She has fought tooth and nail against the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, named after the late senator and now sponsored mainly by Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

While it has dozens of co-sponsors in both parties, Boxer argues the chemical bill would be a significant step back for safety that would reduce states’ authority to regulate substances and make it difficult for regulators to act on high cancer rates, among other problems.

“This is the environment committee, not the boardroom of the chemical companies,” she said when the committee passed the bill earlier this year.

Burr had placed a hold on the bill to demand that the Senate consider renewing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The government spending bill released early Wednesday would provide a three-year renewal of the LWCF, spurring Burr to drop his hold.

The LWCF, which enjoys bipartisan support, expired Sept. 30.

Devin Henry contributed to this story.