In a rare defeat for Republican leadership, the House has backed a Democratic proposal allowing the Interior Department to continue adding new species to the Endangered Species Act.
A spending bill backed by GOP leaders would have only allowed species to be removed from the endangered list, rather than added. Republicans said the current program encourages lawsuits from advocacy groups that seek to have species listed as threatened or endangered, costing the government tens of millions of dollars.
Thirty-seven Republicans joined 187 Democrats Wednesday to reject the GOP. Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington state, who sponsored the amendment, called the GOP bill an overreach motivated by ideology, not deficit reduction. He said the measure had little chance of approval in the Democratic-controlled Senate.