Congress will vote on chemical law reform this summer, McConnell says

By Lydia Wheeler

Congress is expected to vote on legislation to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws before it’s August recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump's Saudi arms deal MORE (R-Ky.) told Morning Consult.

In April the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterLobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views Collins votes against Trump judicial pick MORE’s (R-La.) bill to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by a 15-5 vote.

In his interview with Morning Consult, McConnell would not give any indication of when exactly the legislation will advance but listed TSCA reform among the bipartisan bills Congress plans to tackle between now and the August recess. A re-write of No Child Left Behind and cybersecurity legislation, he said, are also on the agenda.

Last month, Udall said his bill – the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – could hit the Senate floor for a vote in June. Named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenbeg (D-N.J.), who led the reform effort before his death in 2013, the Udall-Vitter bill would increase penalties for chemical violations, force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review new and existing chemicals for safety and require safety decisions to be made solely on public health grounds.

The bill, however, has been criticized for for restricting states’ rights to issue their own protections for dangerous chemicals and for failing to ban asbestos.