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Inhofe, Whitehouse pledge to work together to ensure TSCA’s passed in Senate


WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan group of Senators today announced in a press conference 14 new cosponsors to the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act and urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill to a vote on the Senate floor. The legislation would overhaul the nation’s broken chemical safety law, the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), which would make it the first successful reform of a major environmental law since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. 


In a rare occurrence, Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) stated they would stand together to ensure that an open amendment process to the TSCA reform legislation would serve to move the bill forward and on to the U.S. House of Representatives, instead of getting stalled or stopped due to controversial provisions. 


During the press conference, Inhofe said, “There are going to be a lot of amendments. Senator Whitehouse and I don’t always agree on everything. For that reason, I really believe that if it is something that he and I are both really interested in and consider it to be a top priority, than I don’t think unfriendly amendments are going to get very far on this. We have gone through a process [with the bill] that is going to make that a lot easier to become a reality and be sent over to the House."


Whitehouse followed with, "One of the ways in which the Senate worked in the good old days, when the Senate worked, was that when a bill came to the floor, the cosponsors and the floor managers would stick together on votes that were likely to tear the underlying agreement apart. So you saw people on both sides of the aisle voting against amendments that they otherwise would be ardent supporters of, and indeed even cosponsors of, because they had an agreement to stand with one another and make sure this bill got through. I hope that is the kind of process we can get to when we get to the floor."


The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was introduced by U.S. Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.). The Environment and Public Works Committee passed the legislation out of committee on April 28 by a vote of 15-5. 


The new cosponsors are: John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).


Previously announced cosponsors are: Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.); Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and John Thune (R-S.D.).


To watch the press conference in full, please click here: