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House votes to strip EPA of power to curb carbon emissions

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Environmentalists worry that the Obama administration, which is eager to avert a government shutdown, might compromise on one or more of the riders to the spending bill and permit EPA authority to be weakened. Among those riders are measures to block EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions and to repeal the agency's finding that such gases pose a global warming threat to human health and welfare.

Those riders, as much as money differences, appear to be at the center of the budget impasse. (Many riders are about non-EPA issues, such as NPR funding and Planned Parenthood.) Speaker Boehner Thursday morning said the government funding fight isn't just about money, but also about "common-sense policy restrictions on how taxpayer dollars are spent."

Similarly, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, who has been closely involved in budget talks, said it is the policy riders, not the money, holding things up.

"I can see us sitting down at the negotiating table and coming away with an agreement on numbers," Senator Reid said about the negotiations, in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday. "But no one can realistically think that we will walk out of a room and suddenly agree to roll back women's access to health care or protections for the environment."

Those spending bill policy restrictions include riders that would:

• Prohibit EPA use of funds to implement or enforce any statutory or regulatory requirement pertaining to emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.

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