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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
7th Congressional District of Massachusetts


12,360 subscribers

March 20, 2015

Science Advisory Board

On Tuesday the House considered H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015. H.R. 1029 is basically the same bill that passed in the House late last year. It makes changes to the Science Advisory Board (SAB). The role of the SAB is to advise the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on scientific matters. H.R. 1029 changes the constitution of the board, allowing for up to 90% of SAB members to be scientists from the private sector. This could give scientists doing research for private industry greater influence over the direction of the SAB. H.R. 1029 also establishes a public comment period for all advisories issued. I am a strong supporter of soliciting public input but the problem with this legislation is that it requires the EPA to respond directly to every comment. This is a significant increase in workload without additional resources. Requiring the SAB to respond to all comments will delay their work advising the EPA on scientific matters. The Administration has stated that H.R. 1029 will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 1029 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

234

1

0

9

DEMOCRAT

2

180

0

6

TOTAL

236

181

0

15

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

More Science

On Wednesday the House considered H.R. 1030, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015. This exact same bill passed the House late last year. It essentially prevents the EPA from doing anything – from proposing a rule to finalizing it – unless all of the scientific data they used in the process is publicly available to the degree that it can be analyzed and reproduced. The problem with this approach is that H.R. 1030 will effectively eliminate the use of far too much research, including research related to personal health records or other confidential information. For example, if the EPA was studying a pesticide or household cleaner, it could not use any information related to the possible health impact of those products because any relevant patient records are protected by privacy laws. The EPA also could not use all relevant information from the product manufacturers because much of that is protected by business privacy laws. Any proposed EPA rule should be drafted with the benefit of all reasonably available data. This bill would significantly hinder the agency.

Additionally, by requiring that the public has access to all the information used in a rulemaking, and requiring detailed instructions on how to understand and implement the data, H.R. 1030 imposes significant staff and financial burdens without providing any additional resources. The Administration has stated that this bill will be vetoed. I voted NO. H.R. 1030 passed and the entire vote is recoded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

237

1

0

6

DEMOCRAT

4

174

0

10

TOTAL

241

175

0

16

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

NLRB

Yesterday the House considered S.J. Res. 8, Disapproval of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule, under the Congressional Review Act. The NLRB is responsible for reviewing issues that arise between employees and employers, including rulings made on unfair labor practices and efforts to organize workers. S.J. Res. 8 prevents the NLRB from implementing changes it adopted in December that are designed to streamline and modernize its processes. The NLRB updated a number of its procedures, including requiring the electronic filing of election petitions and other documents, and steps to reduce hearing delays. This resolution effectively prevents the NLRB from updating its procedures or modernizing its technology. The consequence of this is that the NLRB will lack the tools it needs to more efficiently address workers’ requests to hold elections on union representation and other matters. I voted NO. S.J.Res. 8 passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

232

3

0

9

DEMOCRAT

0

183

0

5

TOTAL

232

186

0

14

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

0

9

0

0

What’s Up Next

The next votes are scheduled for Monday March 23rd. The House is expected to consider Medicare legislation.

Mike


Congressman Mike Capuano
7th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Ethics
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services

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