Friday, January 15, 2016

Republicans move to force Obama to veto resolution blocking Waters of the U.S. rules

Congressional Republicans want to force President Obama to veto a measure to eliminate the administration's Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rules, Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse. Despite lacking a two-thirds vote to approve the resolution in either chamber in previous votes, "the House on Wednesday gave final congressional approval to a disapproval resolution that would eliminate the rules."

House Speaker Paul Ryan wrote in the Omaha World-Herald that "the veto would force Obama 'to be up front with the American people about his administration's power grabs and will set the stage for correcting these abuses in 2017,'" Brasher writes. "House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, (R-Texas) argued during the floor debate that 'farmers and ranchers deserve a government that will review and consider their thoughts, not a government that refuses to engage stakeholders and hands down orders from on high.'”

Some Democrats call the move a waste of time, Brasher writes. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass) told him, “We don't pass legislation. Instead we pass sound bites, and that's what we're doing here. This chamber has become an echo chamber, if you will, for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee and its priorities."

"Republicans are running out of legislative options to stop the rule," Brasher writes. "Republicans wanted to add language to the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill that would have blocked enforcement of the rule should the court stays be lifted, but the White House refused to allow the provision. The resolution was drafted under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to reject major new regulations." (Read more)

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