2018 Scorecard Vote
Representative Jason Smith (R-MO) offered an amendment to H.R. 6147, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019, which limits the recovery of attorneys’ fees in citizen suits under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the amendment prohibits the recovery of legal fees for settlements incases against the federal government. This change would remove critical incentives for citizen suit provisions and especially harm low-income communities that seek legal representation to enforce these environmental laws. The proposed changes also disincentivize the quick resolution of citizen suits, increasing litigation costs for both plaintiffs and the government. On July 18, the House approved the Smith amendment by a vote of 215-199 (House roll call vote 357). NO IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE. The House passed H.R. 6147 on July 19 and the Senate passed its version of the bill on August 1. On September 5, the House rejected a motion to instruct conferees and no further action was taken on this legislation.