Senators push for floor vote on chemical reform bill

Sens.Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers Dem senators unveil expanded public option for health insurance Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt's four email addresses MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterPlanned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge Where is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? 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 InhofeDems give muted praise to Pompeo-Kim meeting Overnight Energy: Former Pruitt aide alleges more wasteful spending, retaliation | Senate confirms EPA No. 2 | Zinke backs off big park fee increases Senate approves Trump’s pick for No. 2 at EPA 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 MarkeyDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers Overnight Cybersecurity: Senators want info on 'stingray' surveillance in DC | Bills to secure energy infrastructure advance | GOP lawmaker offers cyber deterrence bill Overnight Tech: Alleged robocall kingpin testifies before Congress | What lawmakers learned | Push for new robocall rules | Facebook changes privacy settings ahead of new data law | Time Warner CEO defends AT&T merger at trial MORE (D-Mass.) has failed to garner any support, Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response 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.