WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2016 - The House will vote next week on whether to kill the Obama administration’s “waters of the United States” rule, as GOP leaders seek to make a case to voters for electing a Republican president.
The disapproval resolution passed the Senate in November, 53-44, well short of the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn a certain presidential veto.
“I'm expecting a veto. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our business in the legislative branch,” said Rep. Adrian Smith, a Nebraska Republican who introduced the House version of the resolution.
Despite the certain veto, next week’s debate on the resolution “helps establish the record and bring the issue to the forefront,” said Smith.
The WOTUS measure, which is expected on the House floor on Wednesday, is one of a series of anti-regulation bills that House Republicans are forcing votes on this month.
This week, the House voted to repeal Obamacare and passed a bill that would set up a commission to make recommendations on what it considers obsolete or unnecessary regulations that should be eliminated. Another bill the House passed is aimed at curbing the development of consent decrees and settlement agreements that lead to new regulations.
“2016 is about going on offense on ideas,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said as he opened his weekly news conference on Thursday.
Smith said he expects the House to OK the disapproval resolution by a margin similar to the 261-155 vote last spring by which the chamber passed a bill that would force the administration to replace the rule. That legislation stalled in the Senate when supporters failed to get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Democratic filibuster.
The disapproval resolution, which would simply kill the WOTUS rule, required only a simple majority to pass the Senate.
The WOTUS rule, which took effect in August, is supposed to clarify what streams, ponds, wetlands, ditches and other features are regulated under the Clean Water Act. But courts have blocked the rule's enforcement nationwide while legal challenges to it are considered.