Senators push for floor vote on chemical reform bill

Sens.Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallSenate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Senate Dems want DOJ review of Giuliani's work for foreign entities MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterSenate panel advances Trump nominee who wouldn't say if Brown v. Board of Education was decided correctly Planned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge MORE (R-La.) are pushing Senate leadership to schedule a vote on a bipartisan bill to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws before lawmakers leave for summer recess in three weeks.

The Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, introduced in March, has garnered 50 co-sponsors ­– 22 Democrats and 28 Republicans – in addition to Udall and Vitter, making for a total of 52 supporters. The bill only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate.

Named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who long sought to reform the Toxic Chemicals Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the Udall-Vitter bill would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to base chemical safety regulations solely on health and safety risks, leaving out industry costs altogether.

Republicans conceded on changes to the original legislation to allow states greater flexibility to regulate chemicals that EPA has not acted on and allow states to enforce rules along with the federal government.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofePentagon releases report on sexual assault risk Trump privately calls Mattis ‘Moderate Dog’: report Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he’s committed to shepherding the legislation, which passed through the Environment and Public Works Committee in May, through to the finish line.

“Momentum continues to build for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act with now more than a majority of the Senate cosponsoring this important and timely piece of environmental reform legislation,” he said in a statement. “The 52 cosponsors of the bill represent a total of 33 states, and I expect this representation to continue to grow as the bill moves towards floor consideration.” 

Since the legislation she introduced with Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Dems introduce bill to ban low-yield nukes Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (D-Mass.) has failed to garner any support, Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerKamala Harris on 2020 presidential bid: ‘I’m not ruling it out’ The ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor MORE  (D-Calif.) is now pushing the Senate to take up the House bill to reform TSCA instead.

The house bill would require EPA to review chemicals in products and expedite risk management regulations. It also would allow to issue their own protections until EPA exonerates a chemical or has taken action to restrict it.

Boxer said earlier this month that with a few changes, the House bill is the best option for chemical reform.