Press ReleaseJul 27, 2011
Republicans File Wacky Amendments to Interior and Environment Spending Bill
WASHINGTON (July 28, 2011) -- The GOP Interior and Environment spending bill came to the floor of the House of Representatives stacked with 39 legislative riders that make it the most anti-environmental bill in recent memory. There's the "Extinction Rider" that would prevent any species from being added to the endangered species list, thankfully voted out of the bill. There's the "Mercury Rider" that would bar EPA from protecting our children from mercury and other toxic substances from being spewed out of utility smokestacks; there's the "Oil Dependence" rider that would prevent EPA from issuing tailpipe emissions standards to make our cars and trucks more efficient and make them emit less CO2 pollution; and there's the Grand Canyon Uranium mining rider, that would open areas next to the Grand Canyon to uranium mining and radioactive contamination, among others.
But these 39 riders weren't good enough for the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. And so they have filed hundreds of amendments to make this terrible bill even worse.
"If you look at all of these amendments, you'd have to conclude that House Republicans want kids to get more sunburns, that they see imaginary buffer zones around public lands, and there should be no music," said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee. "At such a serious time in America, these are not serious proposals from House Republicans."
Here are some of the truly wacky amendments that have been filed by House Republicans to the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill:
- Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) has an amendment to eliminate funding for the Energy Star program, which allows appliance manufacturers who make energy efficient refrigerators, washing machines, ovens, or air conditioners to put an "Energy Star" label on those appliances so that consumers know that these are the most efficient appliances they can buy.
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has an amendment to bar funding for the SunWise Program, an EPA program to teach parents, teachers, and children about what they should do to protect kids from overexposure to the sun, because I guess the Tea Party is OK with kids getting bad sunburns and increasing their risk of getting skin cancers later in life.
- Rep. Blackburn also has an amendment to bar any funds to be used for the upkeep of the residence of any former United States President. Presumably, that may force the closure of the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts as it was the residence of two former Presidents (John Adams and John Quincy Adams). And for those who are not Federalists, it might even threaten Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton's boyhood homes.
- Rep. Blackburn also has an amendment to bar any of the funds appropriated in the bill from being spent on more energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, because the Tea Party apparently is deeply offended that a 100-year old incandescent light bulb technology invented by Thomas Edison should be replaced with a more efficient form of lighting. Perhaps they would prefer a return to the lighting methods of the Founding Fathers - candles and whale oil lamps!
- Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) has an amendment barring any funds from being spent on climate change research, because we don't really need to know anything more about a problem the Tea Party refuses to recognize even exists.
- Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) has an amendment to bar any funds for rules, regulations or guidance unless they are based on "hard" science. As opposed to "soft" science?
- Rep. Pearce also has an amendment to bar any funds for the Mexican wolf recovery program, driving the last 50 Mexican wolves to extinction, which is one solution to the non-existent immigrant wolf problem.
- Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) has an amendment to bar any of the funds in the bill