Today, 248 members of the House of Representatives voted to take away your right to breathe clean, healthy air. They voted to pass legislation misleadingly called the Domestic Energy & Jobs Act (DEJA), which includes another bill dubbed the “GASP Act” by the American Lung Association.
The “GASP” Act – and now the House-passed DEJA – would force the head of EPA to adopt unhealthy clean air standards for smog pollution in the face of cost complaints directed at setting healthy standards. The legislation then would compel EPA to misrepresent those unhealthy air quality standards to Americans as sufficient to achieve "clean air."
This is no different than an insurance company prohibiting your doctor from telling you whether you have cancer, if the insurance company thinks the cost of treatment is too high. Instead, the doctor would be ordered to lie to you, tell you you're not sick, and send you home.
For over 40 years, the Clean Air Act has required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set honest air quality standards that are "requisite to protect the public health" with an "adequate margin of safety." [pdf] Clean Air standards must be honestly based on the best health science and medical understanding concerning how much pollution is harmful to humans. Standards may not be weakened or distorted by political or other non-medical factors.
A unanimous Supreme Court upheld this principle, saying that the Clean Air Act "unambiguously bars cost considerations from the [air quality standard]-setting process." But today’s House vote attempts to overturn that decision and the plain language of the Clean Air Act as well.
And lest you think any member of Congress had no option but to vote for a bill that they knew had nothing to do with its purported purpose of lowering gas prices, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) offered an amendment to DEJA today that would have removed the GASP Act's reckless elimination of the Clean Air Act's health foundation.
But 244 members voted against the Green amendment and it failed. Then 248 House members voted for the entire DEJA legislation and it passed the House.
So here are the 248 members of the House of Representatives who voted to take away Americans' 40-year right to clean, healthy air and who would order a government agency to lie to us all about whether the air is healthy to breathe:
Bono Mack (R-CA)
Dold (R-IL) *
Freylinghuysen (R-IL) *
Herrera Beutler (R-WA)
Johnson (R-IL) *
Reichert (R-WA) *
Scott, Austin (R-GA)
* The four asterisked members above (Johnson, Reichert, Dold and Freylinghuysen) voted for the Green amendment that would have stripped the harmful, dirty air provision out of the underlying bill. However, after that amendment failed, these four members nonetheless voted for the harmful bill that passed.