Sen­ate GOP drops ‘poi­son pills’ from key spend­ing bill

Journal Pioneer - - WORLD -

Sen­ate Repub­li­cans are rid­ding a key spend­ing bill of con­tro­ver­sial en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­vi­sions op­posed by Democrats in an at­tempt to avoid the an­nual yearend bud­get pileup. Tues­day’s move by Sen. Lisa Murkowski ex­tends an olive branch to Democrats and could al­low the first floor de­bate on a key spend­ing bill for the In­te­rior Depart­ment and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency since former Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s first year in of­fice. It’s all part of an ef­fort to avoid a catchall “om­nibus” spend­ing bill. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has signed two such mega-bills since tak­ing of­fice but has vowed he won’t do it again. Repub­li­cans dropped a pol­icy pro­vi­sion from pre­vi­ous years, for in­stance, that would have weak­ened a new govern­ment rule lim­it­ing meth­ane waste from gas and oil drilling on pub­lic lands. It’s one of sev­eral “rid­ers” op­posed by Democrats and en­vi­ron­men­tal groups that have been in­cluded in the mea­sure in past years, only to get stripped-out in end-stage ne­go­ti­a­tions. By avoid­ing the fight now, Sen­ate Repub­li­cans are speed­ing up de­bate on the mea­sure and win­ning panel ap­proval for the mea­sure for the first time since 2009. “We have stood down to al­low this process to move for­ward,” said Murkowski, R-Alaska. It’s part of a broader ef­fort by old-school sen­a­tors like Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee Chair­man Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and top panel Demo­crat Pa­trick Leahy of Ver­mont to get the cham­ber back to de­bat­ing a $1.3 tril­lion bun­dle of spend­ing bills more openly and to build greater sup­port for them. Ef­forts in re­cent years have been halt­ing at best, but Ma­jor­ity leader Mitch Mc­Connell, R-Ky., and Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are on board as well in hopes of re­pair­ing re­la­tions in the frac­tured Sen­ate. Spend­ing lev­els are mostly agreed to un­der the terms of a two-year bud­get pact agreed to this Fe­bru­ary that re­versed a painful round of spend­ing cuts. “Chair­man Shelby and Vice Chair­man Leahy have been very strong in say­ing, ‘We’re go­ing to the reg­u­lar or­der and the way to do that is keep off the poi­son pills,”’ said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. “They have worked be­hind the scenes and em­pow­ered us ... to say ‘no’ to peo­ple.” In the House, the ap­pro­pri­a­tions de­bates have re­mained par­ti­san and the com­pan­ion In­te­rior and EPA mea­sure - which is laced with GOP pol­icy pre­scrip­tions may never get a floor vote.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.