In the Senate, the bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was introduced as S.697 on March 20, 2015, by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.). It was passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by a strong bipartisan vote of 15-5 on April 28, 2015. It is cospon­sored by 61 members of the U.S. Senate made up of 35 Republicans and 26 Democrats that represent a total of 38 states. Since its introduction, the legislation has garnered the strong support of a wide range of stakeholders from the business, environmental, labor, and public health communities. Senate support for TSCA reform culminated in the passage of legislation by voice vote on Dec. 17, 2015.

The House introduced H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act on June 23, 2015. The Energy and Commerce Committee swiftly acted on the bill, and the legislation was passed by a near unanimous vote on June 23, 2015.

Together the two chambers finalized a solution to modernize TSCA that will achieve a more predictable and uniform federal regulatory program and will protect Americans’ health and our environ­ment while also supporting our economy and creating new job opportunities here at home.

Click here to learn more about reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act 

Click here for text of the TSCA reform bill

Congressional action on reforming the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) during the 114th Congress

  • January 9, 2015 – Sen. Jim Inhofe announces TSCA reform as one of his top 5 priorities as Chairman of EPW in the 114th Congress
  • March 10, 2015 — Sens. David Vitter and Tom Udall reintroduce the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S.697)
  • March 18, 2015 — The EPW Committee holds a legislative hearing on S.697
  • April 28, 2015 — The EPW Committee marks up and passes S.697 by a vote of 15 to 5
  • May 27, 2015 — Reps. John Shimkus, Fred Upton, Frank Pallone, and Paul Tonko introduce the TSCA Modernization Act (H.R. 2576)
  • June 23, 2015 — House Committee on Energy and Commerce reports H.R. 2576 to the floor and then passes the legislation out of the House by a 398 – 1 vote. 
  • July 16, 2015 — S.697 receives 52 cosponsors, a majority of the Senate
  • August 4, 2015 — S.697 is hotlined and clears GOP cloakroom, meaning all GOP Senators agreed to it being brought up by unanimous consent
  • October 2, 2015 — S.697 receives a filibuster-proof number of cosponsors
  • October 6, 2015 — 150+ outside groups announce support for S. 697
  • October 21, 2015 — S.697 is hotlined and clears Democrat cloakroom, meaning all Democratic Senators agreed to it being brought up by unanimous consent
  • December 17, 2015 — S.697 passes the Senate by a voice vote 
  • May 20, 2016 — Conference bill, merging policy priorities from S.697 and H.R.2576, posts on House Rules website as H.R. 2576, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act
  • May 24, 2016 — House debates and votes on final TSCA reform deal by a vote of 403 - 12

A Call for TSCA Reform

EXXON MOBILE IN ROLL CALL OP/ED: BIPARTISAN EFFORTS AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME

“…[T]he future successes of the shale revolution and America’s manufacturing renaissance are not forgone conclusions. We need policies equal to this historic opportunity.The good news is that the sector may be getting some timely help from a rare instance of Washington bipartisanship... Democrats and Republicans in Congress have come together in an effort to modern­ize the Toxic Substances Controls Act (TSCA), the outdated regulations affecting the chemical industry. The proposed reforms will help bring that 1970s legislation into the 21st century. It’s taken years of bipartisan work and negotiation, but the changes are just the comprehensive overhaul we need.”

 

NEW YORK TIMES COLMNIST JOE NOCERA: THE CASE FOR COMPROMISE

“Senator Tom Udall, another Democrat, picked up where Lautenberg left off, and over the next two-plus years, he and Vitter continued to improve the bill while also making compromises to gain additional Senate support. In just the last week, the bipartisan bill, which the Senate is expected to vote on soon, has gained enough co-sponsors to be filibuster-proof. In this era of polarized politics, it is something of a miracle…”

 

WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL: TIME FOR OVERSIGHT OF DANGEROUS CHEMICALS

“The Senate’s version isn’t some giveaway to industry; among other things, it allows states to apply for easily obtainable waiv­ers from the federal government that would allow them to continue regulating even while the EPA does its work. Moreover, the Senate’s version has several valuable provisions that the House’s doesn’t, including one that raises money from industry fees to pay for chemical evaluations and another tasking EPA to prioritize its reviews.”

 

MARCH OF DIMES DR. MCCABE IN CNN OP/ED: HOW SCARY ARE THE CHEMICALS AROUND YOU?

“In recent decades, the presence of chemicals in household products, consumer goods, building materials, furnishings, trans­portation and even sporting goods has increased dramatically. That means that the average individual, whether adult or child, is coming into contact with hundreds of chemicals throughout each day…

“We have a long way to go in catching up on 40 years of inaction, and we cannot afford any further delay. Congress should pass TSCA reform speedily, and President Barack Obama should sign it into law, so that scientists, manufacturers and the EPA can protect the public health under a sensible, meaningful chemicals regulation law.”

 

BLOOMBERG EDITORIAL: IS YOUR SOFA TOXIC?

“If a chemical is proved to be dangerous to you or your children, protection from it shouldn’t depend on what state you live in. Meanwhile, manufacturers are left trying to follow sometimes contradictory regulations. A better fix is to update federal law to give the EPA the authority and resources it needs to investigate -- and when necessary, restrict or ban -- chemicals used in commercial and industrial products. Bipartisan legislation in Congress would move in this direction by making it easier for the EPA to impose restrictions on chemicals it deems unsafe and requiring the agency to review at least 25 chemicals every five years.”

 

PHYSICIANS COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE MEDICINE IN THE HILL OP/ED: REFORM PROTECTS HEALTH

“Six million dollars and three years. That’s what it takes for the Environmental Protection Agency to test the safety of just one chemical on animals—and there are tens of thousands of chemicals waiting to be tested. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697) is the only bill under consideration by Congress that will make that process faster and cheaper by requiring modern testing methods that better protect public health.”

 

MAT BRAINERD, MEMBER OF NATIONAL ASSN. OF CHEMICAL DISTRIBUTORS, TULSA WORLD OP/ED

“When I became the president of Brainerd Chemical in 1979, the federal law was still in its infancy. Over the last 30-plus years, the role of chemicals in our daily lives has grown exponentially. Chemicals are used in virtually every household product and are essential to maintaining our society’s advancements in health care and public safety. Unfortunately, the government’s ability to review those chemicals has not kept up...Fortunately, Inhofe has worked tirelessly to build support for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Once passed, the greatest accom­plishment of the Lautenberg Act will be its update to the rules for assessing and regulating chemical substances, ensuring that scientists have the appropriate tools necessary to make certain the safety of everyday products used by Oklahoma families.”

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