Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform may soon become a reality if the House of Representatives’ easy passage of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) is any indication. The House bill was passed in an incredible 398-1 vote on June 23, an impressive achievement given the contentious subject and in a highly partisan House of Representatives.
What is curiously noteworthy is how California’s representatives voted on H.R. 2576. Of all the states, California is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to TSCA reform. Given the concerns California Democrats have raised on what have seemed to be irreconcilable issues like preemption, not to mention the fact it is heavily involved in chemicals management (e.g., safer consumer products regulations) in-state, the strong support from its elected representatives is interesting and telling.
Looking at the votes cast by the California delegation, it appears a critical mass has been reached. Of the 53 members of Congress from California, all but eight voted in favor of the bill and seven of the eight votes were actually abstentions. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the liberal Minority Leader, voted for the legislation as did Representative Anna Eshoo, another liberal who had abstained from voting for the bill when it was being debated in committee because she wanted stronger preemption language. Even Senator Barbara Boxer, the notoriously partisan ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee known for obstructing bipartisan TSCA reform efforts, has now endorsed the House bill. In fact, Boxer said this week that she will push the Senate to take up the bill over the Senate version, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.
SOCMA is hopeful there will now be a similar outcome in the Senate in the near future. A Senate floor vote could happen next month before the August recess.
For more information on TSCA reform, contact Dan Newton at (202) 721-4158.