What’s Next in the Fight Over the Obama Administration’s Waters Rule
the first-time since Republicans took back control of the Senate last year, the
chamber held up-down votes this week on measures that would force the Obama
administration back to square one on a major environmental regulation.
chamber backed a measure (S.J. Res. 22) that would immediately nullify the
waters of the U.S. rule but failed to clear a procedural hurdle on a separate
measure (S. 1140) that would force a rewrite of the regulation with specific
yet, “We've just begun to fight,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told Bloomberg BNA
Here’s what next in the fight
over the controversial waters rule.
Congress Will Force Obama to Veto the Resolution Nullifying the
Rule: Shortly after the Senate action yesterday, House Majority Leader
Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Bloomberg BNA in a statement that his chamber
would take up the resolution nullifying the rule in “coming weeks.” That’s a
necessary step to getting it to Obama’s desk, where the president would veto the
measure. Both chambers of Congress appear to lack the votes to override that
Standalone Bill Could Be Brought Back: Inhofe floated this idea to Bloomberg
BNA. He and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), are irked a bloc
of 11 Democratic and Independent senators did not support the bill but instead
sent a letter to the administration reserving the right to support legislative
efforts in the future. Inhofe called that position “indefensible,” while
Barrasso said the senators had been “either pressured or
bullied” to vote against his bill. Tweaking
the bill and bringing it up for a vote again would put further pressure on that
bloc of senators.
A Policy Rider Is Possible: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the
chamber’s second-highest Republican, told reporters a policy rider addressing
the waters of the U.S. rule would be a good candidate for inclusion in
appropriations legislation. Several senators have previously expressed support
for that idea.