Senators forcing vote on WOTUS rule

By Philip Brasher

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2015 - The Senate could vote as early as next week on a resolution killing the Obama administration's new rule re-defining what ditches, wetlands and other areas are regulated by the Clean Water Act.  Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, announced Thursday that she has gathered enough support for a joint resolution of disapproval to overcome a Democratic filibuster. She didn't say how many senators supported the measure but it would only require a simple majority to pass. 

< Lets Talk Foodp>Ernst introduced the resolution last month with 49 colleagues. Federal courts have temporarily blocked the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, which took effect in August

Although President Obama would almost certainly veto the disapproval resolution, the Senate vote would be a test of support for blocking the rule legislatively through a policy rider in the fiscal 2016 spending bill that Congress is expected to consider in December. 

“These efforts are the next necessary steps in pushing back against this blatant power grab, and I'm optimistic it will head to the president's desk where he will be forced to decide between the livelihood of our rural communities nationwide and his unchecked federal agency," Ernst said.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said Wednesday that no decisions have been made about whether to include a WOTUS rider in the 2016 spending bill. “We're going to see what the Senate's attitude is on all of these things,” he said, referring to policy riders. 

(Corrects earlier version to say that only a simple majority needed, not 60 votes.) 

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