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HR1: Deaf, Dumb, and Blind on Climate Change

Dan Lashof

Posted February 19, 2011

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Early this morning, after making an atrocious bill even worse, the House of Representatives passed H.R.1 on a vote of 235 to 189, with only three Republicans joining all the Democrats in voting no. What was supposed to be a “continuing resolution” to fund the government through the end of this fiscal year is instead an all out assault on government, and the public health safeguards most Americans want government to enforce, at the behest of big polluters and anti-science ideologues. This is probably the single most irresponsible bill I have seen either Chamber of Congress pass in the more than 20 years I have been in Washington.

The usually mild-mannered American Lung Association explains many of the life-threatening provisions of H.R.1, which go well beyond just the pollution provisions, in their sharply worded press release. Their bottom line is worth quoting here:

The American Lung Association calls on the Senate to recognize that, as passed by the House, H.R.1 is toxic to public health.  The Senate must start from scratch and recognize that tough fiscal choices can be made without jeopardizing public health.

My colleagues have already posted on a number of the toxic provisions and more analysis will be posted on this tag. Here I will just review a few of the most egregious provisions related to climate change. Keep in mind that none of these provisions are actually about reducing government spending. They would just order the government to act deaf, dumb, and blind.

deaf dumb and blind

  • Deaf: The House passed an amendment offered by Mr. Pompeo (R-KS), 239-185, which would prevent EPA from collecting basic data on who is pumping how much carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants into the air. Apparently the House majority does not want to hear about where this pollution is coming from.
  • Dumb: The House passed an amendment offered by Mr. Poe (R-TX), 249-177, which would prevent EPA from setting any limits on emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, or perfluorocarbons for any reason. Apparently the House majority wants to make sure that EPA doesn’t say anything to prevent big polluters from dumping unlimited amounts of these chemicals into the air.
  • Blind: The House passed an amendment offered by Mr. Luetkemeyer (R-MO), 244-179, which would prevent the United States from contributing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC, which won a Nobel Prize for its work in 2007, was established with the support of the George H.W. Bush administration to provide authoritative international assessments of climate change. Apparently, the House majority does not want to see how pollution is affecting the climate.

As the American Lung Association said, the Senate must start from scratch. We do need a responsible plan to cut the deficit, but we don’t need to be deaf, dumb, and blind about it.

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BridgetFeb 20 2011 07:56 PM

American Lung Association CEO says it best, "The House’s actions in passing H.R.1 are not consistent with the public’s views. The American Lung Association recently released a bipartisan poll that found 69 percent of likely voters think the EPA should update Clean Air Act standards with stricter limits on air pollution; 68 percent feel that Congress should not stop the EPA from updating Clean Air Act standards; and a bipartisan 69 percent majority believe that EPA scientists, rather than Congress, should set pollution standards."

Tom HannaganFeb 21 2011 12:03 PM

Thanks, Dan. I appreciate seeing the facts, of course, but could do without the assignations and presumptions ("Apparently the house...). Does congress ever pass anything without a smattering of ridiculous amendments being tacked on? I suspect not. The alert is helpful but the emotional comments tend to detract from the actual severity of the situation. Let's discuss how we help congress to cut an admittedly unsustainable federal deficit in ways that still protect/improve the natural environment.

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