As you may have seen, the Senate did not vote on TSCA reform yesterday after all. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky objected to the procedure for a quick vote (known as “unanimous consent”). Because the Senate is in recess through next week, the maneuver delays a vote until at least the week of June 6.
Senator Paul cited excessive preemption and new criminal penalties in his objection as well as a need for more time to review the bill. It is unclear if his critique of the preemption provisions mirrors our own.
Working with several offices, we were able to secure changes that softened the blow of the early preemption provisions in the final bill that was approved by the House on Tuesday. However, the preemption remains one of the issues that prevents the coalition from endorsing the bill. The others include limitations on the ability of EPA to intercept problem chemicals in imported products and over-reaching animal testing restrictions that will, ironically, potentially lead to more animals (and people) being exposed to toxic chemicals outside of the laboratory.
Leading researchers Leo Trasande and Bruce Lanphear cited these provisions in their own statement in Health Affairs this week. State officials in Washington, Minnesota, and Maine have also objected to the unprecedented early preemption embodied in the final legislation.
It seems unlikely that the postponement will alter the outcome of a Senate vote, but we will keep you posted. We also plan to publish fuller analysis of the final bill soon.