In what has recently become a common ritual in American politics, Congress’ Republican majority is moving forward with its own set of appropriations bills, rather than negotiating a budget with President Obama or the Democrats in Congress. Surprise! Their bills take extreme positions — for corporate interests; against public health and safety. In particular, the appropriations bills governing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Interior (DOI) would decimate environmental spending and repeal huge chunks of federal regulatory authority — including, crucially, EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Republicans in both the House and the Senate have written and passed the EPA/DOI appropriations out of their respective appropriations committees on party-line votes. There are slight differences between the House and Senate versions, but the basic contours and spending levels are the same. Both would drastically cut spending to hold it down to the levels laid out by the sequestration process defined in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Remember sequestration — the fall-back budget-cutting plan designed to be so broadbrush and draconian that both parties would come to terms on a real deficit-reducing plan rather than face such a politically painful outcome? Thanks to Republican unwillingness to raise tax revenue, sequestration actually went into effect; we’re still living under it. Now Republicans are simply demanding that domestic spending cuts under sequestration be maintained, while the defense budget is allowed to grow. Meanwhile, they are attaching “policy riders” to the environmental appropriations bills that would take us back to the days before President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.