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Policy Update 1/11/11: An attack on all who serve


Policy Update 1/11/11: An attack on all who serve

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Saturday's attack on Tucson, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords (D-AZ) has Capitol Hill on edge. Republican House leadership plans to delay consideration of the hyper-partisan health care repeal bill, and will instead pay tribute to Giffords by dismissing Congress for the week. Discussions of gun control and violent political messages are expected to ensue in the coming week.

Attack on Representative Giffords

On Saturday, an attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) left six dead and 14 wounded, including Giffords herself. The shooter confronted Giffords at a public "Congress on your Corner" event attended by the Congresswoman and members of the community. 1Sky is shocked and angered by the tragedy in Tucson. The tragedy has delayed regular business in Congress, and is being seen as a wake-up call for hyperbolic political rhetoric. Lawmakers are putting aside a vote to repeal health care reform and are instead returning to their districts to spend time with their constituents.

Wave of Clean Air Act Attacks Begins

Last week members of the new GOP-led House introduced three bills attacking the Clean Air Act. These bills are written to mirror similar measures pushed by big polluters in the last Congress. Though no new co-sponsors have been added to these bills, the rush to block the Clean Air Act is a sign that this year's fight won't be easy:

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), H.R. 97, 46 co-sponsors, introduced 1/5/2011;
  • Representative Ted Poe (R-TX), H.R. 153, 19 co-sponsors, introduced 1/5/2011. Cuts funding for the Clean Air Act and other programs;
  • Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), H.R. 199, 3 co-sponsors, introduced 1/6/2011.

In the last three campaign cycles, these three members have received more than $160,000 in campaign contributions from ExxonMobil, Koch Industries and Valero.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) is also taking aim at EPA regulations in his subcommittee. Luckily, champion members of Congress are fighting back. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was first out of the gates:

I will use every single tool available to me as chairman of this committee and as a senator from California to oppose any legislative efforts that threatens the health or the safety or the well being of the people of this great nation."

Other champions speaking out publicly include Senators Whitehouse (D-RI), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Cardin (D-MD), Harkin (D-IA), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).

Unfortunately, some Democratic senators are offering up plans of their own that would block necessary Clean Air Act regulations. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) intends to re-introduce his Dirty Air Act from last year. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) opposes Rockefeller's plan, yet has also announced opposition to the Clean Air Act.

As polluter-supported attacks on the Clean Air Act flare up in Congress, local support for reducing pollution is bubbling up from the grassroots:

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