House Votes 227 to 198 in Favor of Resolution to Void Biden Administration’s WOTUS Rule
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 227 to 198 in favor of H.J. Res. 27, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that seeks to void the Biden Administration’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. The resolution was introduced by Committee Chairman Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.), who is chair of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, and has 170 Republican cosponsors in the House.
The WOTUS rule, which is scheduled to go into effect March 20, would broaden the definition of navigable waterways subject to protection under the Clean Water Act and provide clarity and predictability for farmers and developers while protecting our nation’s water quality and supply.
However, Republicans have argued that the rule would lead to sweeping changes to the federal government’s authority to regulate what is considered a navigable water, with enormous impacts on small businesses, manufacturers, farmers, home and infrastructure builders, local communities, water districts, and private property owners.
This week, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise's office (R-La.) issued a floor lookout stating that the administration's rule “expands the federal government’s regulatory power and places the burden on small businesses, farmers, local communities, manufacturers, and private property owners.”
The Biden Administration takes a broader view than its predecessor on which waters are subject to protection. Prior to the Biden regulations, the narrower regulations from the era of former President Trump were also not in effect, as they had been taken down in court.
The resolution is to be sent to the Senate, where its success is uncertain. A simple majority is required for the resolution to pass through the chamber, which Democrats control 51-49, and it is expected to be presented for consideration the following week. Nevertheless, President Biden has already said he would veto the measure if it reaches his desk. The House would need 62 additional supporters to reach 289 total votes or the 2/3rds majority to override the Presidential veto.
0. “Newhouse Applauds House Passage of WOTUS CRA” Dan Newhouse, 9 Mar. 2023, https://newhouse.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/newhouse-applauds-house-passage-wotus-cra
1. “House Votes to Overturn Flawed, Overreaching Biden WOTUS Rule | Transportation and Infrastructure Committee” The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 9 Mar. 2023, https://transportation.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=406191
2. “McMorris Rodgers Helps Block Biden's Burdensome Regulations on Farmers” Cathy McMorris Rodgers, 9 Mar. 2023, https://mcmorris.house.gov/posts/mcmorris-rodgers-helps-block-bidens-burdensome-regulations-on-farmers
3. “McCollum Vote on H.J. Res. 27 | Congresswoman Betty McCollum” Betty McCollum, 9 Mar. 2023, https://mccollum.house.gov/media/statements-record/mccollum-vote-hj-res-27
4. “These 9 House Democrats voted to overturn a Biden administration water regulation” The Hill, 10 Mar. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/house/3893010-these-9-house-democrats-voted-to-overturn-a-biden-administration-water-regulation/
5. “House votes to overturn Biden administration water regulation” The Hill, 9 Mar. 2023, https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/3892445-house-votes-to-overturn-biden-administration-water-regulation/
6. “House-Passed Water Rule Baits Biden's Veto With Absent Democrats” Bloomberg Law, 9 Mar. 2023, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/environment-and-energy/house-passed-water-rule-baits-bidens-veto-with-absent-democrats
7. “House Republicans Push Back on Disastrous Biden WOTUS Rule” Americans for Tax Reform, 8 Mar. 2023, https://www.atr.org/house-republicans-push-back-disastrous-biden-wotus-rule
8. “House votes to block Biden WOTUS rule | The Voice of LaSalle County since 1952!” 1430wcmy.com, 9 Mar. 2023, https://1430wcmy.com/2023/03/09/house-votes-to-block-biden-wotus-rule