Hotel and community pools could win reprieve from an Obama Administration shutdown order if an amendment passed today by House Republican Conference Secretary John R. Carter (TX-31) and Representatives Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) becomes law.
The Carter amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act (CJS) would prohibit funds being used by the Department of Justice to implement new Administration regulations that mandate a separate, permanent pool lift for the disabled at every body of water at hotels and public facilities nationwide by May 15. If implemented, thousands of hotel and community pools are expected to close for the season.
"I am not against disabled Americans having access to pools and spas," Carter told committee members. "What I am against is unreasonable regulations that don't pass the common sense test. It just doesn't make sense that if a hotel or city pool has multiple pools and hot tubs at one location that you won't allow them to use one portable lift instead of having to install permanent lifts on each pool."
Hotels and other public pool facilities were moving to purchase portable lifts until the Administration issued new regulations in January requiring permanent lifts on all water features by May 15. Lift suppliers lack adequate inventory to support the change, leaving most pool owners with a choice of compliance failure or closing their pool.
The Committee approved both the Carter amendment and the full appropriations bill by voice vote. The bill funds the Department of Commerce, the Department of Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.
The full bill approves $51.1 billion in funding, which is a reduction of $1.6 billion below last year's level, and $731 million below the President's request for these programs. Since Republicans regained control of the House in January 2011, the committee has reduced funding for CJS by 20%.