House Republicans get early warning from California Sen. Barbara Boxer

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House Republicans, meet Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The California Democrat who chairs the Senate environment committee pledged Thursday to ‘do everything in my power’ to fight any efforts by the House’s new GOP majority to weaken environmental laws.

‘Let me send a clear message’ to Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who has taken over the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from her ally, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills). ‘I will use every tool available to me as chairman of this committee and as senator from California to oppose any legislative effort that threatens the health or safety or well-being of the people of America.’

Speaking in her panel’s hearing room, Boxer said job creation would be a priority of her Environment and Public Works Committee, which will write the next big transportation bill. ‘A healthy environment and a thriving economy go hand in hand,’ she said, noting that Republican President Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency.

‘This committee will remain vigilant to ensure that politics and special interests do not interfere with the ability of the EPA and the states to act in accordance with the law to respond to what the scientists are telling us,’ Boxer said.


Her comments come days after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released a copy of a letter he has sent to business leaders seeking help ‘identifying existing and proposed regulations that have negatively impacted job growth.’

Sean Bonyun, a spokesman for Upton, said in response to Boxer’s remarks: ‘With Michigan and California both suffering from 12.4% unemployment, Fred is fighting to put folks back to work. Jobs are disappearing at an alarming rate and will continue to flee overseas without the proper, sensible EPA oversight that has been absent the last two years. In this new Congress, Fred will use every resource available to protect American workers and our economy by rolling back the job-killing GHG [greenhouse gas] regulations.’

Any measures passed in the Republican-controlled House on party-line votes are likely to face trouble in the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority.


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-- Richard Simon in Washington