1990 Scorecard Vote
This vote was on a motion to table (kill) an amendment to the 1990 Farm Bill offered by Senator Symms (R-ID). The amendment would threaten many of the nation's key environmental policies by codifying a seriously flawed 1988 Executive Order (EO 12630) issued by the Reagan Administration. The Executive Order was purportedly conceived to ensure that all government actions comply with the Just Compensation Clause of the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment. The clause requires federal agencies to perform "Takings Implication Assessments" (TIAs) and applies to all regulation, proposed regulation, denial or conditioning of permits, comments on legislation, and policy statements.
Environmentalists agree with the 1988 report by the Congressional Research Service that the EO is an erroneous interpretation of the Just Compensation Clause. It advocates a biased anti-regulatory view toward government regulatory programs. The Fifth Amendment already provides private landowners adequate protection from illegal government "takings" of property without just compensation. The Symms amendment further ties up federal agency efforts to protect public health, safety, and the environment. The agencies affected by the EO pass hundreds of regulations and make thousands of regulatory decisions each year. The Symms amendment would have a chilling effect on the issuance of regulations to protect public health and the environment, and impose additional delays and burdens on regulation writing and permit issuance procedures.
For example, if EPA needs to restrict pesticide use to protect public health, but to do so the agency must adopt the EO's skewed "takings" standard and implement time consuming TIA's on each pesticide restriction it considers, EPA is likely to establish a weak regulation and enforce it less vigorously, thereby jeopardizing public health and environmental protection, due to the Symms amendment. The motion to table was agreed to by a vote of 52-43 on July 27. Yes is the pro-environment vote.