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Rush Rebukes Republicans’ Bad Faith Arguments at Energy and Commerce Markup on Build Back Better Act

September 13, 2021

Rush: “These are not handouts, and they are not the constructs of a nanny state”

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Energy Subcommittee, delivered a powerful rebuke to House Republicans’ bad faith arguments that the provisions in the Build Back Better Act constitute government overreach and Marxism.  Rush delivered these remarks nearly seven hours into the Energy and Commerce Committee’s markup on the Committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act, at the beginning of debate on Subtitle B, which includes funding to clean up toxic Superfund sites and remove toxins from schools. Rush also gave opening remarks at the beginning of the markup this morning.

As Chair of the Energy Subcommittee, Rush was involved in crafting the legislation, and the electric vehicles provisions in the bill were modeled after Rep. Rush’s NO EXHAUST Act.

“Mr. Chairman, I did not intend to speak on this amendment, but I have been intently listening to the debate on both sides so far, and I must emphasize that the subtitle we are currently discussing, and in fact, even the larger bill, is not in any way, by any stretch of the imagination, objectionable — despite what my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have us to believe,” Rush said.

“While it is easy to get distracted by the details, the larger picture is that this package includes sizable funding for cleaning up Superfund sites, block grants for environmental and climate justice, and, in part due to my own advocacy, investments addressing toxins in schools. 

“These are not handouts, and they are not the constructs of a nanny state.  This rhetoric that we’ve heard is harmful, and it seeks to prevent us from helping those who need our help the most.  In truth, this subtitle is absolutely grounded in the fundamental principle of helping those whose health and whose well-being is suffering through no fault of their own.  This subtitle attempts to finally take real action to protect those who live near polluted areas.  And, Mr. Chairman, according to the EPA, those communities that are located close to polluted areas are more likely to be made up of Black and Brown households.  These communities continue to suffer from the worst legacies of pollution. 

“We have an obligation to assist these communities, rather than make it harder to get them that vital assistance.  I do not think any of my colleagues on this Committee can disagree with that principle in good faith.

“Cleaning up our communities is not governmental overreach.  Taking toxins out of our children’s schools is not in the least way Marxism.  That’s absurd!  Reducing the amount of waste dumped into landfills will not cause inflation.  It is simply taking noble and common sense action for the common good,” Rush concluded.

Video and audio of Rep. Rush's remarks is available HERE.

A fact sheet on key Energy and Commerce provisions in the Build Back Better Act can be found HERE.

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