Congressman Smith Amendment Combats EPA Obstruction with Budget Cuts

In response to continued obstruction of congressional requests, I along with Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-Texas), offered an amendment to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget. The amendment was offered to a Department of Interior appropriations bill (H.R. 2822) and would cut both EPA’s Office of the Administrator and the Office of Legislative Affairs by 50 percent from current levels. The amendment was agreed to by voice vote.

The amendment addresses the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) continuing pattern of obstruction and delay in response to Congressional oversight. Since January 2014, the EPA has proposed or finalized new, far-reaching rules that impact almost every aspect of the American economy. These rules involve major expansions of federal authority, massive costs to the economy, and are based on secret science that the EPA keeps hidden from external review or scrutiny.

Congress has a Constitutional responsibility to perform rigorous oversight of the Executive Branch. However, as Chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, nearly every request for information to EPA is greeted with repeated delays, partial responses, or outright refusals to cooperate. EPA must refocus its efforts on transparency and cooperation with Congress and the American people.

The Center for Effective Government gave the EPA a grade of “D” in its most recent report for poor performance in giving access to information.

The Science Committee will hold a hearing this Thursday at 10:00 A.M. to receive testimony from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the EPA’s regulatory agenda.

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