Congress will vote on chemical law reform this summer, McConnell says

By Lydia Wheeler

Congress is expected to vote on legislation to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws before it’s August recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDems delay Senate panel vote on Supreme Court nominee This week: GOP picks up the pieces after healthcare defeat The Memo: Winners and losers from the battle over healthcare MORE (R-Ky.) told Morning Consult.

In April the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Sens. Tom UdallTom UdallThe Hill's 12:30 Report Dems introduce MAR-A-LAGO Act to publish visitor logs The Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid VitterFormer GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World Mercury brings on former Sen. Vitter, two others MORE’s (R-La.) bill to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by a 15-5 vote.

In his interview with Morning Consult, McConnell would not give any indication of when exactly the legislation will advance but listed TSCA reform among the bipartisan bills Congress plans to tackle between now and the August recess. A re-write of No Child Left Behind and cybersecurity legislation, he said, are also on the agenda.

Last month, Udall said his bill – the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – could hit the Senate floor for a vote in June. Named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenbeg (D-N.J.), who led the reform effort before his death in 2013, the Udall-Vitter bill would increase penalties for chemical violations, force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review new and existing chemicals for safety and require safety decisions to be made solely on public health grounds.

The bill, however, has been criticized for for restricting states’ rights to issue their own protections for dangerous chemicals and for failing to ban asbestos.