Congressional Republicans Take Stab At EPA Before Heading To Recess

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives kicked off the month of August with one of their favorite activitiesattacking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.)

Last Thursday, in one of their final acts before they take the entire month of August off, the Republican-controlled House passed a piece of legislation that would greatly reduce the EPA’s ability to regulate corporate pollution.  The vote, according to The Hill, was largely along party lines, with Republicans supporting the bill and Democrats opposing.

The legislation, cleverly titled Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny or REINS, would give Congress the ability to approve or deny any regulations put in place by the EPA, if they cost more than $100 million or any standards that would tax carbon emissions.

The Hill details the conservative reasoning behind the legislation:

The legislation, designed to create a new hurdle that regulations would have to clear before taking effect, reflects the Republican view that rule-making at federal agencies has run amok. The result, they charge, is a torrent of new regulations that have saddled businesses with unnecessary red tape and compliance costs.

Throughout the president’s administration, a flood of major new regulations have been burying Americans’ job creators and households at record levels,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said moments before the vote…

The REINS Act, introduced by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.), is the latest incarnation of legislation that has been introduced in each of the last three Congresses. It faces a difficult road forward in the Senate, where Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced a companion bill.

Goodlatte’s misguided view that regulations destroy jobs or somehow hinder innovation (both of which are at odds with the truth), is a direct talking point from the dirty energy industry, which coincidentally has given Goodlatte more than $300,000 over the course of his career.

Republican Todd Young, the original sponsor of the House bill, has pulled in more than $163,000 from coal, oil, and gas companies during his short two year career.  Rand Paul, sponsor of the Senate’s companion legislation, has pulled in $249,000 from coal, oil, and gas companies, which includes $17,000 from Koch Industries, Rand’s 5th largest single campaign contributor.

The continued attacks on the EPA show that politicians are putting the interests of their corporate donors over the health and safety of their constituents.  Not only do these regulations create jobs for the U.S. economy, but any cost that they create is offset by future healthcare costs saved. 

The Republicans in Congress clearly have a problem with looking down the road when it comes to spending, as hefty expenses from fossil fuel pollution and climate change are expected to start costing the United States an estimated $4 billion a year within the next two decades.