The Senate appropriations committee advanced a spending bill Thursday that would block a number of the Obama administration's key environmental regulations.
The $32 billion spending bill approved by the full committee would fund key Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department programs, but cuts the agencies' fiscal 2017 budgets by about $1 billion below what President Obama had requested.
The problem the Democrats have with the bill, besides the cuts, are the several policy riders undermining the agencies from moving forward with key regulations high on the administration's list of priorities.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, who is the top Democrat on the committee, said she won't back the measure. "These poison pill riders and some of these deep cuts to the environment mean I cannot support" the spending bill, she said.
The committee voted against a Democratic amendment to remove the riders from the legislation. The riders block the EPA's contentious Waters of the U.S. rule, now referred to as the Clean Water Rule, as well as endangered species regulations and Interior's latest mining regulations affecting the coal industry.
The House passed its version of the spending bill Wednesday evening, which contains many of the same riders with additional ones that seek to upturn Obama's climate agenda. In addition to the mining rules and the water rules, the House environmental riders also block the EPA's Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of the president's climate change agenda that includes moving ahead on the international climate accord reached in Paris in December.