Sen. Carper, Chairman Boxer, EPW Members Call Riders Hazardous to Public Health and Environment

WASHINGTON – Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation by a vote of 234 to 193 that extends payroll tax cuts, but contains unrelated provisions that will have devastating impacts on the health and safety of the American people and the environment. Yesterday, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, joined Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA), other EPW Committee members and leading public health experts at a press conference to discuss the negative impacts of those environmental riders. Click here to watch video of the event.

Sen. Carper, Sen. Boxer, and other Committee members issued the following statement on the environmental riders to H.R. 3630:

Senator Carper said: “As Members of Congress work to find an agreement that maintains both the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance program that benefits millions of Americans, we cannot be distracted by partisan proposals that would jeopardize the health of Delawareans and Americans across the country by limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to protect clean air. The Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to clean our air protect all Americans from harmful air pollution that not only costs this country billions in lost productivity and healthcare expenses, but that also kill thousands every year. Clean air and water give all of us a chance to have a healthier, more productive lives and efforts to clean our air are also good for our economy, creating much needed jobs in manufacturing, installing, and operating modern pollution control technology and producing clean energy. I am urging my colleagues to reject these proposals that threaten our economy, environment, and public health.”

Senator Boxer said: “The House once again loaded must-pass legislation with harmful riders that will undermine the health and safety of the people across the nation. Let me be clear – these are ‘poison pills’ that don’t help the American public, but they do help the polluters. I call on Republicans to stop attaching unrelated provisions and instead pass a bill that will give the American people the tax relief they need without endangering their health.”

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said: “While we’re fighting to make sure middle-class families get a payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits don’t run out, it is outrageous that Republicans are holding the economy hostage and saying they won’t budge unless we give polluters a pass.”

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) said: “Asthma attacks associated with bad air quality are skyrocketing in places like Prince George’s County. We need stronger protections for human health, not environmental rollbacks promoted by polluters and their friends in Congress. It’s time we said no to the polluters and yes to the millions of Marylanders who count on us for pure water and healthy air.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said: “By trying to shortcut environmental safety reviews for the Keystone XL pipeline and undermine enforcement of the Clean Air Act, House Republicans are needlessly endangering public health and delaying progress on important payroll tax relief for middle class families.”