20 Years Ago: 4-27-93 — Senate rejects bill to elevate EPA to cabinet status

The bare-bones bill was rejected 54-42.

The news report is below.


Senate turns down bare bones EPA bill
April 27, 1993, UPI

The Senate turned down a bare-bones version of a bill to create a new Department of the Environment Tuesday, despite warnings that any additions could doom the legislation.

The Senate defeated 54-42 an amendment by Sen. William Roth, R-Del., that would have stripped the proposed new department of its support functions and just give the Environmental Protection Agency department and cabinet status.

The bill, supported by President Clinton, would create the 14th department and the first since the Veterans Affairs Department that was established in 1989.

The proposed department would integrate and coordinate all environmental protection programs.

In addition, it would establish a Bureau of Environmental Statistics, a commission to study how to improve environmental protection and abolish the Council on Environmental Quality and transfer its functions to the new department.

Roth said he favored making EPA a cabinet-level department to ”send a clear message to foreign governments and to all Americans about the importance we place on protecting our environment.”

”A cabinet-level EPA will help the U.S. compete globally, by helping to ensure that U.S. companies are not disadvantaged by foreign companies producing products in a cheap and dirty manner,” Roth said.
But the Delaware Republican warned that the inclusion of a Bureau of Environmental Statistics and the study commission would attract other amendments that would eventually doom the bill.

”Legislation to elevate the EPA has consistently been shot down in House of Representatives because issues extraneous to the elevation have been added to the bill,” Roth said. He predicted it would happen again if Congress does not adopt a ”clean bill strategy.”

”The elevation of the EPA to cabinet-level status is too critical to again have it stymied by expensive, extraneous legislative add-ons,” Roth said. ”Let’s not repeat the same mistakes again.”

But Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, floor manager of the bill, said the amendment ”eliminates what I consider critical elements of the bill” and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., added that the Bureau of Environmental Statistics is ”badly needed.”

Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., said the Roth amendment would do ”little more than change the name” of the EPA and Sen. Max Baucus, D- Mont., said that the amendment is ”very short-sighted…we desparately need much better data.”

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