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Environmental victory

House moderates defeat plan to restrain EPA

November 2, 1995
Web posted at: 9:45 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After contentious debate on the House floor Thursday, moderate Republicans joined Democrats to defeat anti-environmental provisions in the Environmental Protection Agency spending bill by a vote of 227-194.

Despite strong support for the provisions from House Republican leaders, led by Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, a group of moderate House Republicans led by Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, R-New York, said the provisions went too far in restricting the EPA's ability to enforce environmental regulations.

The vote was seen by demoralized Democrats as an important victory after a series of losses on budget and spending issues. President Clinton called the vote "a step in the right direction" but said Republicans need to do more to protect the environment and public health.

The environmental provisions were defeated earlier this year, but House Republican leaders called for a re-vote and managed to protect the pro-business environmental provisions on the second vote. Democrats and Republicans opposed to the provisions were furious, saying the second vote was done on a day when numerous members were absent.

Thursday's vote was the third vote and now instructs House and Senate negotiators to not include the provisions in the VA/HUD spending bill that includes funding for the EPA. The Senate version of the bill does not include the environmental scale-backs.

"We still have a long way to go if we are to stop Congress' assault on public health and the environment," Clinton said in a written statement released after the vote. "As we balance the budget in the interest of our children, we must not leave them a world that is more polluted and less livable."

Melanie Griffin of the Sierra Club told CNN Thursday the vote showed "the momentum is going back in favor of the environment."

Sixty-three Republicans joined Democrats to defeat the scale-backs in environmental laws.

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