Rand Paul withdraws block on chemical safety bill

Rand Paul withdraws block on chemical safety bill
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGraham promises ObamaCare repeal if Trump, Republicans win in 2020 Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Rand Paul to 'limit' August activities due to health MORE (R-Ky.) is withdrawing a hold that prevented Congress’s bipartisan chemical safety overhaul bill from moving forward in the Senate.

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Paul objected to the measure on May 26, preventing Senate leaders from scheduling a vote on it before the congressional recess, which angered many of his colleagues.

He said on the Senate floor that day that he had only received the 180-page bill two days prior and needed time to read it. His action prevented the Senate from having unanimous consent to bypass the usual procedure and move to a vote.

“Sen. Rand Paul believes in reading legislation before voting for or against it. Having been given the opportunity to review this legislation, he’s now prepared to allow a vote to occur,” Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Paul, said Monday.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeDemocrats, environmentalists blast Trump rollback of endangered species protections Bottom Line Overnight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and a key backer of the bill, confirmed Monday that Paul was dropping his objection and said he expects the Senate to hold a vote for passage this week.

The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act would overhaul the way the Environmental Protection Agency regulates potentially harmful chemicals, reforming the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.

It would give the EPA new power to test and potentially ban thousands of chemicals, while restricting states’ abilities to regulate the substances.

After years of negotiations and legislative wrangling, the House passed the compromise bill on May 24. It passed overwhelmingly, with all but 12 members voting in favor.

Gor did not say whether Paul would vote in favor of the bill or against it when it comes up on the Senate floor. But in a radio interview last week, Paul was alarmed by major provisions in the legislation.

“It’s sweeping. It preempts state regulations and will be something that we will not go back on,” he said on WHAS.

“This set of regulations actually forbid the analysis of cost … and that’s precisely a recipe for overzealous regulators,” he continued, referring to the fact that the EPA would only be allowed to consider health and safety when deciding on chemical regulations under the bill.

Paul said he would speak further about his objections this week.