The Republican wars against clean water and the EPA are nothing new.
Republicans are trying to get out of the Flint water crisis’ clear denouncement of their failed ideology by blaming the Democrats for corrupting the EPA.
Nice try, but hello reality. For years, Republicans have been waging a war against the EPA and clean water rules.
NY Post critic and columnist Kyle Smith took up for Republicans today by quoting from the National Journal:
— Kyle Smith (@rkylesmith) January 20, 2016
Try to contain your smirk whilst I remind everyone of the fact that Republicans have been knee-capping the EPA for so long that to deny this is laughable. In June of 2015, for example (there are too many examples to even try to list them all), the Hill reported on Republicans once again using appropriations bills to block funding for the EPA, or in plain English, getting around their failure to win the public debate on this issue by playing dirty behind the scenes. They also tried to redefine what can be dumped in the water and which water it can regulate at all:
The bill cuts funding for the EPA by $718 million, or 9 percent, and caps staffing levels at the agency to 15,000, the lowest level since 1989.
EPA provisions in the 2016 spending bill are very similar to those Republicans proposed last year when they looked to cut funding for the agency by 9 percent, cap staffing levels and block a handful of potential agency rules.
Mind you the EPA in 2015 was already operating with staffing at 1989 levels and with a $60 million dollar budget cut, thanks to Republican hostage holding the prior year and President Obama had asked for a $500 million increase in funding for the EPA.
In May of 2015, Republicans fought against the EPA’s pending water rule:
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) offered an amendment Thursday that would defund a pending Environmental Protection Agency water rule, but quickly withdrew it after a fellow Republican warned it could hurt a crucial bill.
The EPA is expected to release a final rule soon that would redefine which ponds, wetlands, streams and other waterways are covered by the Clean Water Act. Republicans, however, contend the rule would be a massive land grab.
Senate Republicans are considering an authorization bill that would block the rule and give the EPA specific instructions for rewriting it. The House voted last week to stop the implementation of the rule.
In November of 2014, when they took total control of Congress, Republicans announced that the EPA was a top target for them.
Senate Republicans are gearing up for a war against the Obama administration’s environmental rules, identifying them as a top target when they take control in January.
The GOP sees the midterm elections as a mandate to roll back rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, with Republicans citing regulatory costs they say cripple the economy and skepticism about the cause of climate change.
Blaming the EPA for their own failures is nothing new for Republicans. It’s part of their paradigm of making sure to be so incompetent at governing that people lose faith in government, and then buy their arguments to let them make a profit off of people by privatizing what should be public.
Republicans have been working to defund and unman the EPA for years. So then when the EPA doesn’t do a stellar job, they yell about the incompetence — all disingenuous, wounded wonder.
Blaming Democrats for the policies and practices of a Republican governor who actively works around the will of the people and makes up new executive orders when the people pass a referendum against his emergency managers is the height of childishness. If Republicans can’t defend their actions and choices — and how can they when they have permanently injured children — they ought to do the grown up thing of taking responsibility for their choices and adjusting course. Instead, they’re pointing fingers at Democrats and whining incessantly.
The truth is that Republicans have been fighting, as a matter of record and ideology, against oversight for decades. They have been specifically fighting clean water rules and the EPA in any way possible, including defunding the agency and handicapping it with a critical loss of staff.
When this underfunding allowed their Governor to get away with letting his emergency manager poison a whole city for over a year, Republicans blame the EPA for not doing more to babysit them. There is nothing to do but laugh in the face of such petulance.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.