May 27, 2016—Threatening to further criminalize economic activity through “a new federal regime,” lawmakers behind HR 2576 tried their best to rush the bill through the Senate. Thankfully, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was there to object, with a vengeance.
Paul’s remarks are below, followed by more details on the legislation.
“Reserving the right to object, one of the pledges I made to the people of Kentucky when I came here was that I would read the bills. This bill came here on Tuesday, it’s 180 pages long. It involves new criminalization, new crimes that will be created at the federal level.
“It includes preemption of states. It includes a new federal regime, which would basically supersede regulations or lack of regulations in Louisiana or Texas or Oklahoma, and so I think it deserves to be read, to be understood, and to be debated. And so I object to just rushing this through and saying, ‘oh, you can’t read the bill.’
“I told people, everybody involved in this, I just want to read the bill. We’ve been working on it now for two days, looking at the bill. We’ve been talking to people who worked on the bill. Is it not unreasonable to ask that we have time to read a bill? Here’s the other problem. Everyday in my office, business comes into my office, and what do they say? ‘We’re regulated to death. We’re sick and tired of regulators from the executive branch that are out of control.’
“So, what does this bill do? It takes away the power from the states and creates a new federal regulatory regime. Here’s the whole problem. People are now saying, ‘please regulate us,’ and then when they get over-regulated, they say, ‘please stop regulating us.’ We should think through how we’re going to do things around here.
“We should take the time to read the bills. We should take the time to understand the bills, so I will continue to object, until we’ve had time to look at the bill thoroughly. With that, I object.”
Known as the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, it would “update” the Toxic Substances Control Act for the first time since 1976. DuPont, Dow, and other chemical industry giants have lobbied in its favor.
It passed the House earlier this week, 403 to 12.
Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will now have to wait until June to push this legislation through.