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 McConnellErnst polls supporters on Obamacare repeal plan Cornyn: Passing Senate healthcare bill by July 4 ‘optimistic’ Sasse has 'nothing to announce' on GOP ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ky.) told Morning Consult.

In April the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Sens. Tom UdallTom UdallDems, greens press Trump administration on methane rewrites Overnight Regulation: House passes bill to roll back Dodd-Frank | Sage grouse back in the spotlight | GOP chair won't back Glass-Steagall revival Overnight Tech: FCC disputes reporter's account of 'manhandling' incident | Verizon to cut 2K jobs at Yahoo | Russians used spyware on Instagram | Virginia moves on 5G networks MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid VitterOvernight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator Former senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry 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.