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death and life of education

How Can A Bill About Asthma Inhalers Become Controversial In Congress? Here's How

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Michael Burgess (R-TX), a couple of other corporate whores from his state (Oily Joe Barton and John Carter), plus Joe Pitts and 2 of Congress' most corrupt Blue Dogs (Matheson and Ross) introduced and passed something called the Asthma Inhalers Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 6190). Sounds like the kind of thing that would sail through Congress 398-1, with only some sociopath like Louie Gohmert voting no, right? Actually, the bill's name is deceptive-- and the roll call was disjointed. It needed a two-thirds majority to pass and it only got 229 votes (with 182 opposed), so it failed. Before we get into what this bill actually was all about, keep in mind that 31 Democrats voted with the GOP on this and nearly an equal number of Republicans, 29, crossed the aisle in the other direction. Most, though not all, of the Democrats voting with the GOP were the usual suspects, Blue Dog scum like McIntyre, Cuellar, Altmire, Barrow, Matheson, Kissell, Boren, Shuler, Costa, Peterson, Donnelly... all the worst trash in the Democratic caucus, with a sprinkling of New Dems sniffing out a new source of potential bribes-- Crowley, Peters, Engel, Richmond... But there were some decent, principled Democrats in the mix as well, Mike Capuano, Tim Ryan, Frank Pascrell, John Larson. On the GOP side, the ones who abandoned leadership were mostly the relatively mainstream types on the one hand and the rebels who detest Boehner and Cantor on the other. This is the official House summary of Burgess' bill:
Asthma Inhalers Relief Act of 2012-- Directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to: (1) permit the distribution, sale, and consumption in the United States of remaining inventories of CFC epinephrine inhalers manufactured pursuant to the exception for medical devices under the Clean Air Act; (2) not take any enforcement action or otherwise seek to restrict the distribution, sale, or consumption of such inhalers on the basis of any federal law implementing the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer; and (3) issue, in response to a request of any distributor or seller of such inhalers, a No Action Assurance Letter stating that the EPA will not initiate an enforcement action relating to the distribution or sale of any such inhaler occurring prior to August 1, 2013.

Defines "CFC epinephrine inhaler" to mean any epinephrine inhaler containing chlorofluorocarbons that was manufactured and classified as over-the-counter before January 1, 2012.

Terminates this Act on August 1, 2013.
Burgess, a doctor, stood up on the floor whining that "I've been an asthmatic my entire life," but failed to persuade enough of his colleagues that his bill had merit. The problem with the bill is that it allows chlorofluorocarbons, which is deadly for the ozone layer and has been banned in this country and worldwide, to continue to be sold in one specific product, a product that also contains the controversial hormone, epinephrine. Burgess' bill allows for the sale of stockpiled Primatene Mist (made by Armstrong Pharmaceuticals), which is otherwise banned as of January 1.

Henry Waxman, ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee: "This is a bill that is special for one company in order for it to sell off the batches of the Primatene Mist that it has on stock. This is a product that's not on the market now-- it was taken off the market-- and there are substitutes on the market that the public health and medical groups say are far better and are far safer."

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Original author: DownWithTyranny


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