Pope Francis's eminently quotable encyclical on the environment couldn't have been better timed for floor debate this week in the House, as the chamber takes two swats at the Environmental Protection Agency's controversial rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions for existing power plants.
The rule forms the tentpole of President Obama's climate agenda, which Republicans dislike. Expect Democrats who support the climate change initiatives to bring up Francis's descriptions of the Earth turning to "filth" and his disdain for unchecked growth.
The House is first slated to vote on a bill from Rep. Ed Whitfield and others that would allow states to opt out of the EPA rule and delay its effective date until all legal challenges are settled. That rule is also blocked under a rider in the $30.17 billion-Interior Department and EPA appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016, which slashes $718 million from last year's EPA's budget and includes riders scaling back regulations on Clean Water Act authority, ground level smog and fracking.
The House also will debate on the floor a bill that would reform the nation's chemical management system, potentially amending the chemical law that has not seen a significant Congressional upgrade since its passage in 1976.