Stories in GovExec yesterday and today provide an excellent overview of the current state of play for chemical security legislation in the Senate. The first story describes the state of opposition to the Collins-Lieberman bill. Today’s story covers Collins’ reply to her critics, asking them to resolve their outstanding issues on the Senate floor:
“The time to move forward with my chemical security legislation is now,” Collins said in a letter to Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, a member of Collins’ panel. Collins’ letter was in response to one Voinovich and 13 other senators, including Democrats, sent Collins last month asking that several issues be resolved before the bill came to the floor.
….Collins noted that all the provisions cited in the letter were addressed by amendments offered by Voinovich during a markup of the bill in June.
For example, a Voinovich amendment to pre-empt stronger state regulations was rejected by the committee. “I understand that you continue to have concerns about pre-emption, and obviously you would be able to submit this issue to the full Senate when [the bill] comes to the floor,” Collins said.
….Like Voinovich, Collins opposes adding any IST requirements to the bill.
“Not only is there no mandatory IST in the bill, but also, the language of your amendment ensures that the secretary of DHS cannot impose particular safer technologies upon a chemical facility,” Collins wrote. “I frankly do not see what more is needed.”
Damn straight. It’s time for the Senate do the responsible thing to move this bill to the floor, so that it can be passed in the 109th Congress. And it’s time for the chemical industry to step up and do the patriotic thing, and direct their energies away from business-as-usual skirmishes over legal minutiae and toward pushing this bill across the finish line.