From: Tom Brune [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 12:15 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO
Subject: White House print pool report #1, June 22, 2016
Obama signs, lauds bipartisan chemical safety bill
The president signed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act at a mid-morning ceremony in the South Court Auditorium, where politicians, aides, environmentalists and industry representatives filled the seats and stood along the walls and back of the room.
The event was open press. Please check quotes against forthcoming WH transcript.
Obama spoke at a lectern with the American and presidential flags behind him on the audience’s left side of the stage. Obama then moved to the other side of the stage, where he sat down behind a brown desk with the presidential seal affixed to it to sign the bill, using several pen to write his name.
“This is proof that even in the current polarized atmosphere in Washington, things can work. It’s possible,” Obama said before signing the bill, adding that “somewhere along the horizon maybe we can make our politics less toxic as well.”
To stress the bipartisan nature of environmental laws, Obama pointed out that the clean air and water acts and the EPA were passed under President Richard Nixon and the toxic chemical safety act under President Gerald Ford.
“There was a transformation initiated by both parties that actually produced an outdoors that was cleaner and better than before,” Obama said. “These regulations made a difference.”
He also praised the American Chemical Society and Environmental Defense Fund, industry, environmentalists and public health advocates, along with Congress and staff.
Obama noted that young people don’t remember when cities were more polluted, recalling when he was in New York City he went jogging and couldn’t understand why he felt somewhat dizzy.
The ceremony also paid homage to Sen. Frank Lautenberg (R-N.J.), who pushed the legislation until his death in 2013. His widow, Bonnie Lautenberg, was on stage, and kissed Obama on the cheek after he finished speaking and headed to the desk to sign the bill.
Obama thanked Bonnie Lautenberg, saying she “carried the torch on this issue” and cemented her late husband’s legacy. Obama also said he had worked on Lautenberg’s committee: “Frank was passionate about this…. For him to see the legacy completed he must be greatly satisfied.”
After signing the bill, Obama hugged Pelosi and shook hands all around. Then he left.
Among those on stage surrounding Obama as he signed were Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.), Sen. Tom Udall (D-Col.), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
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