Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WATCH: Impassioned Rep. Schweikert Helps House Pass "Secret Science Reform Act" Addressing EPA Regulations; Calls ASU "Next Smartest School In the Nation" (behind MIT)

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) gave the most impassioned speech of the day in favor of the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015.  The measure, chiefly addressing EPA regulations, later passed the House on a party line vote.

Calling the Democrats' debating points against the measure "intellectually vacuous........because we're not saying things that are true," Schweikert noted that the measure simply requires "public policy made by public data, public data by public policy."  (He also had to tell the Democrats that he was not calling them intellectually vacuous: "No, Madam Ranking Member!  No, you're not!")

Schweikert was the primary sponsor of this measure last year, when it passed the House but stalled in the Senate.  Though he is not the named sponsor this year, he still took to the Floor and made the case for it. (Schweikert's Deputy Chief of Staff Beau Brunson tells Arizona's Politics that he did not sponsor the measure this year because he is no longer Chair of the Environment Subcommittee.*)

The House voted 241-175** to send it to the Senate, where the new Republican majority is more likely to take it up.  However, the White House issued twin veto threats against it and the companion bill passed yesterday.

The text of the Secret Science Reform Act is as follows:


    This Act may be cited as the `Secret Science Reform Act of 2015'.


    Section 6(b) of the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 (42 U.S.C. 4363 note) is amended to read as follows:
    `(b)(1) The Administrator shall not propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such covered action is--
      `(A) the best available science;
      `(B) specifically identified; and
      `(C) publicly available online in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.
    `(2) Nothing in the subsection shall be construed as--
      `(A) requiring the Administrator to disseminate scientific and technical information; or
      `(B) superseding any nondiscretionary statutory requirement.
    `(3) In this subsection--
      `(A) the term `covered action' means a risk, exposure, or hazard assessment, criteria document, standard, limitation, regulation, regulatory impact analysis, or guidance; and
      `(B) the term `scientific and technical information' includes--
      `(i) materials, data, and associated protocols necessary to understand, assess, and extend conclusions;
      `(ii) computer codes and models involved in the creation and analysis of such information;
      `(iii) recorded factual materials; and
      `(iv) detailed descriptions of how to access and use such information.
    `(4) The Administrator shall carry out this subsection in a manner that does not exceed $1,000,000 per fiscal year, to be derived from amounts otherwise authorized to be appropriated.'.
Schweikert also gave props to Arizona State University in his talk. After somewhat-facetiously acknowledging that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is "where all the really smart kids are, right," he said that ASU, the "next smartest school in the nation" should be able to take EPA studies and "bounce them up" against their research.

* In fact, Schweikert is no longer a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

** Only 4 Democrats voted "aye", and one Republican voted "nay". Arizona's delegation voted along party lines.

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