The U.S. House Appropriations Committee voted July 12 to halt funding on the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead rule until EPA approves a commercially available lead paint test kit. The amendment, part of the full Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, now goes before the House of Representatives for consideration.

Passed by a voice vote, the amendment was sponsored by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT). In effect, it puts a stop to  funding for the EPA to enforce its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP) Rule. Although the LRRP Rule went into effect last April,  enforcement did not begin until October 1, 2010.

EPA lead enforcement funds cut by House committeeThe LRRP Rule amendment is supported by a number of industry associations, including the Window & Door Manufacturers Assn., the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Assn., Associated General Contractors of America, Associated Builders & Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of the Remodeling Industry and others.

“WDMA commends Congressman Rehberg and the members of the committee who supported his amendment, for their leadership on this issue, WMDA President and CEO Michael O’Brien said in a statement. “It is entirely reasonable to expect EPA to comply with its own regulations, especially since it expects the window, door and skylight industry to comply. We are doing our part, they should do theirs.”

“NLBMDA would like to thank Congressman Rehberg for his efforts to help alleviate the unjustified compliance burden placed on dealers and their customers as a result of unreliable test kits,” said NLBMDA Executive Vice President Scott Lynch in a release. “If EPA is going to expect compliance from the regulated community we expect them to adhere to their own regulations as well.”

The EPA was not the only agency that lost funding in the 2012 bill. Overall, the House budget committee reduced spending in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill by $2.1 billion over last year’s figure, to $27.5 billion. This is $3.8 billion below President Obama’s budget request.

“This legislation is a great example of the hard but necessary work the Appropriations committee is doing to get our fiscal house in order by cutting extraneous, duplicative and unnecessary spending,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said in a statement. “In addition, the bill reins in out-of-control regulation at the EPA — the poster child for the Administration’s widespread regulatory overreach that is hurting nearly ever sector of our recovering economy.”

Interior Appropriations SubCommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) also made pointed comments regarding the EPA in his opening remarks before the committee on July 12: “Earlier this year I said that the scariest agency in the Federal government is the EPA. I still believe that. The EPA’s unrestrained effort to regulate greenhouse gases, and the pursuit of an overly aggressive regulatory agenda, are signs of an agency that has lost its bearing. Wherever I go, the biggest complaint I hear about the Federal government is about how the EPA is creating economic uncertainty and killing jobs.

"This isn’t a partisan issue," Rep. Simpson added. "Members of both parties have said that the EPA’s regulatory actions vastly exceed its authority. The responsibility to determine whether or not to expand that authority rests solely with Congress—and not the EPA. We have included a number of provisions in the base bill to address some of these issues.”

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