Tuesday the House voted to pass a Republican-backed bill delaying implementation of Obama-era reductions in smog-causing air pollutants. The bill will delay the implementation of 2015 air pollution standards issued by the EPA for eight years. The bill will also make other changes that will weaken the Clean Air Act, including reviewing air-quality standards every ten years, instead of every five years which is now the policy.
More than a dozen major health organizations opposed the bill, including the National Medical Assn., the American Public Health Assn., and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The head of the American Lung Assn. called the industry-backed bill a “direct assault” on the right of Americans to breathe healthy air, and urged senators from both parties to reject it.
“The bill would delay lifesaving protections against ozone pollution, exposing Americans to unnecessary pollution levels that will lead to asthma attacks and premature deaths that could have been prevented,” said Harold P. Wimmer, the group’s national president and CEO.
House Republicans praised what they called common-sense legislation to protect American jobs. The GOP bill is supported by several pro-business groups, including the American Petroleum Institute, the American Chemistry Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Democrats for the most part oppose the bill. “This is a blueprint to Make America Sick Again,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), mocking the Trump campaign slogan.