Senators push for floor vote on chemical reform bill

Sens.Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallCongress has been broken by the special interests – here’s how we fix it Senate GOP seeks to change rules for Trump picks Dems celebrate Jones victory in Alabama race MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterWhere is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? Not the Senate's job to second-guess Alabama voters The Senate 'ethics' committee is a black hole where allegations die MORE (R-La.) are pushing Senate leadership to schedule a vote on a bipartisan bill to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws before lawmakers leave for summer recess in three weeks.

The Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, introduced in March, has garnered 50 co-sponsors ­– 22 Democrats and 28 Republicans – in addition to Udall and Vitter, making for a total of 52 supporters. The bill only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate.

Named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who long sought to reform the Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the Udall-Vitter bill would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to base chemical safety regulations solely on health and safety risks, leaving out industry costs altogether.

Republicans conceded on changes to the original legislation to allow states greater flexibility to regulate chemicals that EPA has not acted on and allow states to enforce rules along with the federal government.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeEPA's Pruitt: Bring back 'true environmentalism' Tax cut complete, hawks push for military increase Trump meets with oil-state GOP senators on ethanol mandate MORE (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he’s committed to shepherding the legislation, which passed through the Environment and Public Works Committee in May, through to the finish line.

“Momentum continues to build for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act with now more than a majority of the Senate cosponsoring this important and timely piece of environmental reform legislation,” he said in a statement. “The 52 cosponsors of the bill represent a total of 33 states, and I expect this representation to continue to grow as the bill moves towards floor consideration.” 

Since the legislation she introduced with Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats search for 51st net neutrality vote Overnight Regulation: Dems claim 50 votes in Senate to block net neutrality repeal | Consumer bureau takes first step to revising payday lending rule | Trump wants to loosen rules on bank loans | Pentagon, FDA to speed up military drug approvals Dems say they have 50 votes in Senate to overrule net neutrality repeal MORE (D-Mass.) has failed to garner any support, Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Billionaire Steyer to push for Dem House push Billionaire Steyer announces million for Dem House push MORE  (D-Calif.) is now pushing the Senate to take up the House bill to reform TSCA instead.

The house bill would require EPA to review chemicals in products and expedite risk management regulations. It also would allow to issue their own protections until EPA exonerates a chemical or has taken action to restrict it.

Boxer said earlier this month that with a few changes, the House bill is the best option for chemical reform.