Senators dismiss tying conservation fund to chemical reform

Senators dismiss tying conservation fund to chemical reform
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Senators pushing for an overhaul of federal chemical safety laws are dismissing a push to link the measure to one reviving a lapsed conservation fund. 

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said a pair of Republican senators will have to find a different way to bring a renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to the floor rather than blocking a chemical bill they hope to attach it to.

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Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears Drama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry Cohen to testify before three congressional panels before going to prison MORE (R-N.C.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteUS, allies must stand in united opposition to Iran’s bad behavior American military superiority will fade without bold national action Five possible successors to Mattis MORE (R-N.H.) are stopping the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform bill from hitting the Senate floor unless they get a vote on the LWCF as well. On Monday, Burr told Politico, “I’ll allow it to the floor if it’s open for amendment, even if it’s limited to one amendment.”

But Inhofe said TSCA isn’t the right vehicle for the measure. 

“It’s not a germane amendment,” he said after a press conference plugging TSCA on Thursday. “They need to find something else for their amendment and I think they will.”

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHillicon Valley: House panel takes on election security | DOJ watchdog eyes employee texts | Senate Dems urge regulators to block T-Mobile, Sprint deal | 'Romance scams' cost victims 3M in 2018 Dems urge regulators to reject T-Mobile, Sprint merger Dems wary of killing off filibuster MORE (D-N.M.), a lead TSCA sponsor, agreed. 

“I think he wants a vote [on LWCF], and he should get a vote, and we’re going to work with him on that,” Udall said. “We’re going to try to work through this so we can get the bill to the floor as it is.”

Backers of the TSCA bill secured their 60th co-sponsor last week, setting up an effort to soon push the legislation through the Senate, with Udall suggesting a window as early as this Thursday.

A varied group of senators and interest groups — ranging from the Environmental Defense Fund to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — rallied outside the Capitol to promote the bill on Tuesday.

But Burr and others, still stinging from seeing the LWCF’s authorization lapse last week, want to tie the two popular provisions together into one package. 

Burr is a co-sponsor of the TSCA bill and Udall said he supports an extension of the conservation fund. But Udall said Tuesday that linking them together could end up sinking the chemical legislation. 

“The thing that happens: As soon as you open up one amendment, then you’ve opened it up to 100 amendments,” he said. 

“You’ve seen that happen many times around here, where as soon as you get to that point, you don’t get a bill. And I think all of us want to see a bill.”