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Vote on chemical law reform expected in June

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallFormer Sen. Carol Moseley Braun stumps for Interior post: 'A natural fit for me' Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Overnight Energy: Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' | GM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards | United Nations agency says greenhouse gas emissions accumulating despite lockdown decline MORE (D-N.M.) said his bill to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws could hit the Senate floor for a vote in June.

During a conference call with media and business leaders on Friday, Udall said he’s been in talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is in line for a vote.

The legislation he introduced with Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) in March is one of two bills to overhaul the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It’s named after the late Sen. Frank Lautenbeg (D-N.J.), who led the reform effort before his death in 2013.

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

But after weeks of negotiations, the bill passed through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by a 15-5 vote with changes that allow states greater flexibility to regulate chemicals the EPA has not acted on and lets states enforce rules along with the federal government, among other compromises.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) has introduced a similar bill in the House. Udall said that proposed legislation, the TSCA Modernization Act, is scheduled for markup next week.

“We’re moving in tandem,” he said.

If the House bill passes, Udall said Congress would then need to iron out the differences between the two.