“They attach that to the payroll tax cut,” said Boxer, the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "So have that for a Christmas gift."

Boxer went on to mock Republican senators, wondering what they might say to their constituents when the return to their districts for the holiday break.

" 'Hi, I'm your senator, here is a tax cut for you of about a thousand dollars but sorry you might die from breathing in too much poison in the form of mercury lead and arsenic,' " she said. “That’s what’s going on here.” 

"We have asked for a lot from Santa in our day but we have never asked for lead, arsenic and mercury,” Boxer concluded. 

House Republican leadership attached the provision to delay the EPA’s regulations on boilers in order to attract more votes from the conservative wing of their caucus to the tax cut legislation.