House Natural Resources ranking member Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Energy and Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) did not spare the harsh rhetoric when unloading on a Republican energy proposal slated for a House vote this week.
The legislation is a “monstrosity,” a “Trojan horse,” an “all-out assault” on the environment and a “massive giveaway” to the oil industry that would not lower gas prices by “one cent,” the two lawmakers said.
But while the criticisms were aimed squarely at the GOP, the words might also sting for a small group of Democrats who voted for the bills of which the energy package is comprised.
The GOP legislation consists of provisions in several bills that had previously been reported out of either Markey’s or Waxman’s respective committees.
In every case, the bills received some Democratic votes, and one bill was reported via unanimous consent.
In the Energy and Commerce panel, Democratic Reps. Mike Ross (Ark.), Jim Matheson (Utah) and John Barrow (Ga.) voted for several of the bills. During consideration of H.R. 4880, one of the bills that came before Energy and Commerce, an amendment of Waxman’s was adopted by voice vote.
In the Natural Resources panel, Democratic Reps. Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Dan Boren (Okla.) and Jim Costa (Calif.) voted for some of the bills.
H.R. 2752, included in the package, was reported out of Natural Resources by unanimous consent.
“It’s surprising to hear ranking member Henry Waxman lambast the House GOP’s energy bill for being an all-out assault on the environment when several of his members voted for it in committee, not to mention the fact that Mr. Waxman’s and [Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell’s] amendments were adopted during markup,” a GOP aide carped.
Asked about Democratic support for the bills, Waxman said “a couple of Democrats who may have voted for these bills does not make it bipartisan legislation. These are Republican partisan proposals advanced by the Republican leadership.”
Continuing his response, Waxman upped the ante, saying Republicans are “getting away — literally — with murder” because of their record on the environment.
“Some of these pollutants do harm, and they may even lead to fatalities,” Waxman said.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy hit back, saying the policies favored by Waxman and Markey are hurting the economy.
“As the president and Democrats in Congress continue demonizing domestic energy producers, American families are being denied jobs and access to proven sources of energy. At a time of record-high unemployment, ranking members Waxman and Markey are standing in the way of new jobs growth, putting political idealism ahead of responsible governing,” the California Republican said.
Waxman and Markey released an updated report on the “anti-environment record” of the House during the current Congress.
This is the “most anti-environment House in the history of Congress,” the report says, adding that the body has voted 247 times to “undermine protection of the environment.”
The report highlights votes to rein in regulations under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other environmental laws.
Although Republicans have targeted the Environmental Protection Agency and voted numerous times to loosen environmental regulations, most of those bills have died in the Senate, which Democrats control.
Most GOP attempts to include environmental policy “riders” on appropriations and other “must-pass” bills have also been derailed.
Markey addressed this in his remarks to reporters, saying the GOP energy proposals would quickly be signed into law if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were elected president.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.