Riders Race House Republicans to the Past

There's a theory that the more governing responsibility an individual or party has, the more careful they are in exercising power - you can have fun and games and throw bombs if you have no real power, but things get serious when your actions can matter.

It's apparently a theory that the Republican leadership is hell-bent on disproving. Since January, the Republicans have controlled both the House and the Senate, giving them real governing responsibility. But they keep passing extreme bills, wildly out of step with the public, and each one seems to be worse than the one before.

Look, for example, at the bill the House was about to pass today, before it decided to clearly show how extreme it was in offering an amendment in favor of the use of the Confederate flag. The bill as passed out of Committee on a party-line vote cut the EPA budget by another 9% from the current year meaning an aggregate 28% cut since 2010. The bill also had 26 anti-environmental provisions. These amendments cut EPA's and the Interior Department's ability to protect air, water, climate and endangered species. These included amendments aimed at stopping the Clean Power Plant Rule, the Clean Water Rule, the protections of sage grouse and wolves, and a provision to place the African elephants in more jeopardy.

When this bill got to the House floor, the bill was made even worse by more than 30 additional amendments intended to dismantle what would have remained of our environmental and conservation laws. What made the bill at least temporarily disappear from a final scheduled vote, was the eventual realization that a vote on a Republican amendment to allow the flying of the Confederate Flag at national cemeteries was a racist step too far.

Over the next several days, NRDC will compile all these amendments and a description of their impact at our website here. This link lists the riders that have been included in bills before the recent floor action.