Senate, House pass PRIA following conflict
March 5, 2019
The Senate late last week passed the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act by unanimous consent after the House passed it unanimously on the suspension calendar.
The bill had been the victim of partisan conflict.
The Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent on February 14, but the House parliamentarian rejected it, because instead of including new legislative language, the Senate bill simply referred to the bipartisan measure passed last year, National Journal Daily reported.
But House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., introduced an amendment that resolved the procedural issue and the House approved it unanimously on the suspension calendar, Politico reported.
The law, which will be in effect through 2023, is important to agriculture because it provides for an Environmental Protection Agency registration service fee system for applications for specified pesticide registration, amended registration, and associated tolerance actions, which set maximum residue levels for food and feed and directs EPA to make determinations on the applications within specified times.
Congress established the system in 2004 but it recently expired.
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There was an attempt to get the measure through the House during the negotiations on the appropriations bill that ended the recent government shutdown, but it became the subject of partisan sniping.
Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. of holding PRIA and other measures hostage to force them to negotiate on back pay for contractors affected by the government shutdown.
Democrats said that House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, wanted to leave out a provision in the Senate bill that Sen. Tom Udall, D-N. Mex., had included to protect farmworkers, particularly children, from harmful chemical exposure.
House Republicans said they were not responsible for delaying the measure until it had expired.
"No request was made to House GOP leadership to strip PRIA from the omnibus, but you should ask Speaker Pelosi why it wasn't included," Conaway said in a statement, National Journal reported. "The speaker disagreed to previously agreed upon bipartisan provisions because she did not get her way on one of her last minute priorities [backpay for federal contractors]. She couldn't get one thing so she eliminated a number of bipartisan provisions."
The Senate then passed by unanimous consent the bill with the procedural problem, the House passed it with the fix and the Senate passed it again. Now it goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.