Environmental Issues: Health

UPDATE: In a renewed effort to push the Cantor agenda, GOP lawmakers add anti-environmental riders to end-of-year spending and tax bills.

The House Republican Leadership has declared war on public health and the environment. They have announced a series of votes this fall on rolling back vital safeguards that protect you and your family from some of the most toxic pollutants.

The "declaration of war" and the voting schedule are laid out in a memo from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the #2 leader in the House, and the person in charge of setting the House agenda. Cantor's agenda is a Tea Party wish list that attacks almost every measure the Obama Administration has issued to protect the public from pollution.

The House plan is an ideological agenda that ignores the deaths and illnesses these safeguards will prevent because the Tea Party simply does not want government to do its job, regardless of the consequences. Remember, Eric Cantor is the same person who was pushing to have the government default because he did not want to compromise on a budget plan. The same extremism and intransigence is behind his environmental agenda. The Tea Party is still the "party of no," and wants to block any progress that would improve health and the environment.

Cantor and the Tea Party have been pushing these rollbacks since they took control of the House in January. But now they have repackaged their arguments to claim that their proposals are designed to protect jobs. But allowing people to get sick or even die because of pollution is not a jobs program. Environmental protections are not why the U.S. has a recession, and increasing the health costs of pollution won’t get us out of the recession.

The Cantor/Tea Party agenda will result in more deaths and illness from pollution while doing nothing to improve the economy. It is not what the public wants. It is instead the latest piece of a Republican effort to deny Americans the public health and environment protections they have rightly come to expect.

Regulatory Accountability Act - Attack on ALL regulations

The Regulatory Accountability Act is one of several bills currently moving through Congress that is designed to rollback consumer and environmental protections in order to appease big business interests. Not only would it put a halt to health and environmental safeguards, but it would make it impossible for the federal government to implement ANY legislation. For more information on why, please refer to the following documents:

REINS Act - Setting health and environmental protections back 100 years.

Congress is considering legislation explicitly designed to make it much more difficult to implement safeguards, including those that protect public health, the environment, and food safety. The legislation, known as the REINS Act (Regulations of the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011), would kill any significant safeguard that both houses of Congress did not approve in 70 days. Requiring such second-guessing by Congress of every potential public health advance would shift decision-making from experts to politicians; allow Congress to undermine existing laws without amending them; and enable a majority in one House of Congress to void legal protections, dispensing with the role of the other body and the President.

TRAIN Act - The first in a series of assaults on public health

The House passed the TRAIN Act, including the Latta and Whitfield amendments, on Friday, September 23rd. Details about this piece of proposed legislation are listed in the following documents:

Laundry List of Legislation Underway

In the first two weeks of October the House voted on two more dirty air bills, the cement plant bill (H.R. 2681) AND the incincerator-boiler bill (H.R. 2250). Details about the legislation are listed in the following documents:

Health - The Tea Party agenda is hazardous to your health

The environmental safeguards Cantor wants to block would save lives and prevent illness. These links describe the health benefits that you and your family would see from these protections.

Jobs - Harming public health will not create a healthy economy

Rolling back environmental protections is not a jobs program. Making the air dirtier will not improve the economy. These links explain why.

Public Support - Americans oppose these proposals

Poll after poll has shown that Americans support efforts to improve public health and the environment. They want the experts at government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be allowed to do their job, not be blocked by politicians in Congress. These links describe that polling.

The House Republican Agenda

The Republicans are also pushing other steps to undermine health and the environment. The Cantor agenda lays out a series of votes the House will take this fall, but the House has already taken many steps to rollback protections. Most notoriously, they have loaded up spending bills with anti-environmental "riders" - provisions that do not save taxpayers one cent, but which block environmental protections. These provisions also make it more likely that Congress and the White House will have another standoff over whether to shut down the government because these riders make it harder to reach a compromise on spending bills. These links describe the full anti-environmental agenda and its consequences.

last revised 9/28/2011

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