This was a vote on a motion to suspend the rules and pass legislation eliminating a federal requirement that farms apply for a permit in order to use pesticides that have been approved for use by the federal government. Motions to suspend the rules limit time allowed for debate, and prohibit members from offering amendments. A two-thirds vote is required to approve the motion and pass a bill, rather than the usual majority.
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) urged support for the bill: “…It is imperative that we act in a timely manner…to ensure that our small businesses, farmers, communities, counties, and state and federal agencies will not be burdened with a… permit requirement that offers no environmental or health benefits. It is important to note that pesticides play an important role in protecting our nation's food supply, public health, natural resources, infrastructure, and green spaces. They are used not only to protect crops from destructive pests, but also to manage mosquitoes and other disease-carrying pests, invasive weeds, and animals that can choke our waterways, impede our power generation, and damage our forests and recreational areas.”
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) opposed the bill: “I find myself in an awkward position here today being asked to urgently vote on a bill where there is no real sense of urgency and where questions of its potential impact on human health and the environment far outweigh the answers. I am also concerned that… we are neglecting a rational analysis of the best way to protect human health and the environment from the potential adverse effects of pesticides….As states and the U.S. Geological Survey have told us, pesticides are frequently detected in streams and groundwater throughout the Nation, and literally thousands of streams and bays and lakes are currently impaired or threatened by pesticides. In the state of California alone, pesticides are listed as the number one source of water quality impairment in the state.”
The House agreed to the motion to suspend the rules and pass this bill by a vote of 292-130. All 235 Republicans present and 57 Democrats voted “yea.” 130 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—voted “nay.” As a result, the House passed legislation eliminating a federal requirement that farms apply for a permit in order to use pesticides that have been approved for use by the federal government.