McConnell’s amendment was originally introduced as a stand-alone bill by Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee. That bill has 43 co-sponsors including one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. In addition to Inhofe, McConnell was joined by two other senators who have taken a leadership role in the issue – Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-AK, ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and John Barrasso, R-WY, Vice Chairman of the Republican Conference.
Sen. McConnell is picking up the fight that Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) has already taken up in the House, and which can pass that chamber and has earned him some negative and misleading billboard ads from the American Lung Association. But it’s a few Democrats who will find McConnell’s new effort making them uncomfortable.
Democrats to watch will be Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Bob Casey (Pennsylvania), Tim Johnson (South Dakota), Tom Carper (Delaware), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Kent Conrad (North Dakota), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Jim Webb (Virginia), Ben Nelson (Nebraska), Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow (Michigan) and John Rockefeller and Joe Manchin (West Virginia). All of them have been publicly critical of the EPA, and, not incidentally, most of them face a tough re-election.