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Curb regulations along with spending, House votes

By David Espo

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 18 2011 3:35 p.m. MST

The move to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse-gas polluters came from Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who said his congressional district is home to more oil refineries than any other.

"We're in the midst of a massive economic downturn and the last thing we need to do is shoot ourselves in the foot with unnecessary, expensive new regulations that are on business and industry," he said.

But Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said the proposal was the worst of a series of regulation-negating provisions backed by Republicans.

Citing a widespread scientific consensus that greenhouse gases cause climate change, he said, "This amendment bars EPA from acting, from carrying out its responsibilities."

Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., backed the move to block the Obama administration from enforcing a proposed regulation setting requirements for schools in order for their students to receive federal loans or grants. The requirements involve the amount of debt students accumulate and their earning potential after graduation.

Kline said the proposed rule had triggered a public outcry, and he labeled it "an outright attack on the private sector" that was costing jobs and would continue to do so.

But critics said the for-profit private schools run up large profit margins while leaving students with unmanageable debts after they graduate. The colleges enroll only about 10-12 percent of students in the country, yet receive 23 percent of all federal loans and grants.

Kline's proposal was approved on a vote of 289-136, and, a short while later, Republicans assured approval of Poe's restriction on the EPA, 249-176.

The votes marked the latest evidence of the anti-regulation bent of the new GOP majority.

On Thursday, the House voted to block regulations governing the emission of mercury from cement plants and to stop the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing proposed regulations opposed by Verizon and other large Internet Service Providers.

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram contributed to this story

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