2001 Scorecard Vote
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) effectiveness in safeguarding the environment and protecting the American public depends on its ability to enforce laws to reduce ground, air, and water pollution. As a federal agency, the EPA can often provide much stronger and more comprehensive protections than state agencies, which may be unable to cope with cross-boundary pollution, may lack resources for adequate monitoring, or may be unwilling to resist the pressures of local industries.
The Bush administration, in its budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2002, proposed a funding cut of $25 million in federal EPA enforcement programs, slashing the number of enforcement personnel by 8 percent and transferring the money to state agencies as grants. These budget cuts would have drastically limited the capacity of EPA to hold polluters accountable and would have undercut the agency's ability to oversee some of our most important environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
The president's funding cut was included in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2002 VA-HUD and Independent Agencies appropriations bill. On the House floor, Representative Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) offered an amendment to restore EPA funding and maintain its enforcement personnel. On July 27, 2000, the House rejected the Menendez amendment by a 182-214 vote (House roll call vote 289). YES is the pro-environment vote. The House-Senate conference restored $15 million to the enforcement budget, bringing it back to the previous year's level. Both the House and Senate approved the conference report, and on November 26, 2001 President Bush signed it into law.