Developing a plan to fund the federal government is a primary responsibility of Congress. As we have seen, it is not easy – and if they fail, a government shutdown has real, painful consequences for people across the country. That’s why it makes no sense that some in Congress would complicate the process further by trying to score partisan victories, rather than protect and serve their constituents.

I am especially concerned that some members are trying to block important work of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the air we breathe from pollution.

Consider EPA’s recently announced Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. The Clean Power Plan is critical in addressing climate change and protecting public health, and will prevent up to 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks annually when fully implemented, as well as prevent 300,000 missed days of work and school. Both climate change and poor air quality threaten children and seniors, those with lung and heart disease, and other vulnerable populations most.

Sad to say that the much-lauded health benefits of the Clean Power Plan will never be realized if some in Congress have their way. The only winner in such a scenario would be polluters.

We need Congress to do its job and keep the government funded – without attaching dangerous amendments and without using spending bill riders and other inappropriate resolutions that weaken critical health protections. I hope you will join me in telling Congress to stick to the task at hand and reject attempts to negotiate away fundamental clean air protections. I call on Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Rep. Ryan Zinke to stand up for health and oppose any riders in a budget deal.

Julie Devlin,

Missoula

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