Bipartisanship is not a dirty word

Richard Denison, Ph.D.is a Lead Senior Scientist.

The lead editorial in today’s Santa Fe New Mexican pushes back against the grossly unfair criticism of Senator Tom Udall because he is backing critically needed legislation to reform our nation’s nearly 40-year-old chemical safety law.

The editorial is an island of sanity in a sea of hyperbolic partisan rhetoric unleashed this week against the strongly bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  As the editorial makes clear, Senator Udall deserves the lion’s share of the credit for negotiating over the past two years to secure major concessions from the chemical industry and greatly improve the public health protections in this legislation.  A testament to that success is the fact that 7 other Democratic Senators joined Senator Udall as original cosponsors of the bill right out of the gates, and many more are seriously looking at it.

Read the editorial to see for yourself why, despite all the noise out there about this bill, it’s a good thing Senator Udall has done.

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One Comment

  1. Lin Kaatz Chary
    Posted March 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Richard, with all due respect, do you really think that bipartisanship is the real issue here? I live in Indiana, where as in New Mexico, as the editorial points out, state pre-emption is hardly going to be an issue. So we also have a lot more to gain from the national legislation. Moreover, my Democratic senator – for whom I voted – is one of the co-sponsors of Udall-Vitter.

    That said, I think the issues have very little to do with bipartisanship and that there are real problems in Udall-Vitter that make it impossible for me to support it. I appreciate the huge amount of work that has gone into getting any kind of bipartisan bill and the concern that Udall-Vitter is the best chance to pass a bill this year, but we’ve heard that before and yet here we are again. Apprehension about our ability to win what’s necessary is not a good reason to accept the unacceptable.

    I don’t want to be stuck for decades with a bill that I believe has too many serious flaws to accomplish what needs to be done. And while I respect the fact that compromise has been made on both sides in Udall-Vitter, the new version revives too many issues which many of us believed had been settled, with too many critical loopholes relating to state pre-emption, “low priority” chemicals, and chemicals in products.

    Finally, I really have to challenge your assertion of ” a sea of hyperbolic partisan rhetoric” . This characterization does a major disservice to all who have worked equally hard for many years to produce viable, bipartisan legislation but who are now engaged in principled and respectful criticism of Udall-Vitter. They are critical not because of some bogus disdain for bipartisanship, but because they find it lacking for many other reasons of far greater importance..

    If you and EDF have criticisms of Boxer-Markey , that’s one thing, and you should certainly criticize that for partisanship if that’s how you see it. But that’s not what happened in this blog.

    We can always agree to disagree. But – “Bipartisanship is a dirty word”? It’s a strange way to attack the opposition to flawed legislation that has nothing to do with bipartisanship. Maybe the question that should be asked is – what is the real dirty word here?