Late senator takes center stage at toxic chemicals hearing

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He added, “We will all be lucky if we had a fraction of the perseverance he had.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) agreed that he “was thinking the same thing” about Lautenberg’s presence being in the room, he said, and reminisced about working with the late senator on TSCA “a decade ago.”

Lautenberg had long been an advocate for reform of TSCA, and has been working on legislative efforts for years.

Just weeks before his death, Lautenberg introduced the Chemical Safety Improvement Act with Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). That bill has garnered bipartisan support in the Senate, though some lawmakers contend it needs amendments around the edges before it can advance through the committee.

Vitter told committee members on Wednesday that a new chemical safety law needed to be passed, “certainly in Frank Lautenberg’s memory and certainly for his kids and grandkids.”

In addition to the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, Lautenberg also reintroduced the Safe Chemicals Act earlier this year with support from Democrats and independents. That legislation passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last year.

Vitter called chemical safety Lautenberg's "legacy issue.”

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