Senate Democrats vote to overturn Biden water rule

 March 30, 2023

The Senate voted to repeal Joe Biden's crushing federal waterway regulations, with a handful of Democrats crossing over to make it happen.

The 53-43 vote was not a complete surprise, as the bill to overturn the regulations had passed the House with support from nine Democrats, and Senators like Joe Manchin (D-Wv.) signaled they would follow suit.

The other senators who voted to overturn are Jon Tester (D-Mt.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nv.). Jacky Rosen (D-Nv.), and Kyrsten Sinema, an independent (Az.) who caucuses with Democrats.

Biden loses water battle

It's the latest chapter in a years-long partisan battle over water regulation that has pitted environmentalist bureaucrats against farmers, homebuilders, and business owners.

The Democrats who voted to overturn are facing competitive re-election battles in 2024. They cited concerns with federal overreach impacting farmers and other local stakeholders.

"The Administration’s WOTUS rule is yet another example of dangerous federal overreach. The proposed changes would inject further regulatory confusion, place unnecessary burdens on small businesses, manufacturers, farmers and local communities, and cause serious economic damage," Manchin said.

Sinema said Biden's rule "creates uncertainty and allows the federal government to overreach into Arizona land owners', ranchers', farmers', and producers' water and land."

Democrats John Fetterman (Pa.) and Dianne Feinstein (Ca.) missed the vote.

Dems crossover

President Trump rolled back his predecessor's "Waters of the United States" rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule, which set an expansive definition for which waterways fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

Biden reversed course and moved to restore more expansive regulations, but Republicans intervened to block them under the Congressional Review Act, which requires only a simple majority for a bill to pass.

The Senate vote tees up another veto from Biden, who already rejected a bill this month pushing back on his woke, ESG agenda. Congress failed to override that veto.

Republican Shelley Moore Capito (Va.) urged Biden not to veto the water bill and "instead draft a new rule that doesn’t unfairly penalize millions of Americans and jeopardize future growth in our country."

“I urge President Biden not to overrule the will of a bipartisan majority in Congress, and instead draft a new rule that doesn’t unfairly penalize millions of Americans and jeopardize future growth in our country,” she added.

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