Republicans and Democrats block conservative effort to strip salaries of select EPA bureaucrats

Conservative Republicans in the House introduced a series of amendments to reduce the salaries of certain EPA officials to $1 but enough of their GOP colleagues joined Democrats to stop them from passing.

Published: November 3, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: November 4, 2023 12:34am

Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in saving the salaries of Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrats by sinking several conservative attempts to defund them as part of an appropriations bill that ultimately passed the GOP-led House on Friday.

House conservatives were able to resurrect the "Holman Rule" as part of the GOP conference rules package that was adopted for the current session of Congress. The rule permits lawmakers to insert provisions into appropriations bills to fire individual federal officials or defund their salaries.

Conservative Republicans introduced a series of amendments to the interior, environment and related agencies funding bill to reduce the salaries of certain EPA officials to $1 but a significant number of their GOP colleagues joined Democrats in voting against them.

Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., offered an amendment to "reduce the salary of Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to $1. It failed 150-265 after 60 Republicans voted against it.

He also introduced an amendment to "reduce the salary of Tracy Stone-Manning, Director of the Bureau of Land Management, to $1" that failed 159-259 with 55 Republicans voting against it.

Norman offered a separate amendment to "reduce the salary of Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, to $1," which failed 156-263 after 59 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting against it.

Norman's office was not available for comment before press time.

Rep. Richard McCormick, R-Ga., introduced an amendment to the bill to "reduce the salary of Matthew Tejada, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice, to $1," which didn't advance after a 166-251 vote that included 47 Republicans voting against it.

Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., attempted to defund the salary of Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory but a group of Republicans and Democrats sunk that amendment as well 161-251. In total, 49 Republicans joined all Democrats to shoot down that amendment. 

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., offered an amendment to "reduce the salary of Elizabeth Klein, Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to $1" and it failed 163-261. In total, 54 Republicans joined all but one of the Democrats to reject the amendment. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the amendment.

Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., introduced an amendment to "reduce the salary of Ya-Wei (Jake) Li, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Pesticide Programs to $1," which failed 151-263. There were 59 Republicans voting with Democrats to reject Miller's amendment.

In addition to his amendments to defund select federal officials' salaries, McCormick also attempted to "prohibit funds from implementing certain Executive Orders relating to environmental justice." That amendment passed 217-202. There were four Democrats who joined 213 Republicans in supporting the amendment.

The appropriations bill, formally titled the "Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024," passed 213-203 on Friday. It was the 7th of 12 appropriations bills to fund the federal government for fiscal 2024 that the House has passed. 

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