The Republicans passed, 237-187, the REINS Act— Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017— Thursday night. The bill requires Congress to approve every major executive regulation, which sounds like a good idea when you think about Trump but stopping Trump wasn’t what the Republicans had in mind when they came top with it several years ago. The bill targets environmental, public health, and consumer safety laws and, as we reported over the years. It first passed on December 7, 2011, every Republican plus 4 right-wing Blue Dogs voting for it. Three of the right-wing Blue Dogs— John Barrow (GA), Dan Boren (OK), and Mike McIntyre (NC)— have since been put out of their misery, politically-speaking, but Collin Peterson (MN) voted it for it back then… and every time the GOP has broke it top since then, including last night. Last night, though, he was joined by another far right Blue Dog shitbag, Henry Cuellar (TX).
When it passed on July 28, 2015, it was then too, all the Republicans united against regulations with their two amigos, Peterson and Cuellar. At the time, Ted Lieu (D-CA) called it “a radical, potentially unconstitutional House Republican-authored bill that guts the ability of federal agencies to establish rules protecting food safety, clear air, clean water and other crucial common-sense safeguards. The Reins Act is strongly opposed by a broad range of consumer, health, environmental, labor, scientific, and public interest groups… This bill is a blatant attempt by House Republicans to create another hurdle for the Administration to protect the environment and to act boldly on a foremost issue of our time– combating climate change. Under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon implement the final rule of the Clean Power Plan, a critical rule to protect the environment and public health and to strongly curb climate change-inducing pollution. The REINS Act would implement a new hurdle for the EPA to implement this crucial rule.“
Last night the Republicans— plus Peterson and Cuellar— passed it again and Lieu noted that “by requiring Congress to approve of major rules, Republicans are unabashedly preventing the Administration from protecting the environment, public health, and consumer safety. More troubling is that Republicans rejected several important Democratic amendments, including ones to reduce lead in drinking water and protect low-income communities from carbon pollution. The Senate should reject this unnecessary and harmful legislation.”
There were, in fact, 10 amendments that had roll call votes, 2 by Republicans— including an especially ominous one by Steve King that “establishes procedures for agencies and Congress to comprehensively review existing federal rules and sunset unnecessary rules.” that both passed, and 8 by Democrats, which were all defeated.
Pelosi and Hoyer managed to keep the Democrats relatively united against the GOP yesterday, relatively because Collin Peterson voted with the Republicans over and over, on amendment after amendment, the only Democrat, for example, to oppose Raul Grijalva’s amendment to exempts from the bill rules that would increase carbon emissions or specified adverse health impacts in low-income or rural communities.” Even 5 Republicans— Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), John Katko (NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Lloyd Smucker and Elise Stefanik (NY)— crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats on that.
The last of the Democratic amendments was by Bobby Scott (VA) and it was referred to as “the Black Lung” amendment, aiming to exempt from the bill Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration rules intended to prevent or reduce the incidence of traumatic injury, cancer, or irreversible lung disease. Even Peterson voted for this one. It was interesting, though watching congressmembers who represent big coal-mining districts. Two of West Virginia’s 3 members— Evan Jenkins and Dave McKinley— voted with the Democrats, as did Colorado’s Scott Tipton. But Alex Mooney (R-WV) didn’t seem too give a damn about coal miners in his district. And neither did the Republican freshman who represents the district that produces more coal than anywhere else in the U.S.— welcome to Congress, Liz Cheney (R-WY), who voted for miserable deaths for her own constituents yesterday in order to keep her new voting record ideologically pure.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis