Senate To Vote On Blocking Obama EPA's Waterways Regulation
The House reconvened at 10 AM today. Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) discussed the House plan to strengthen the nation's transportation infrastructure and get the House working as our Founders intended. He said, "This week, you will see the highway bill is a good place to start. We’re opening up the process. We’re allowing members to participate in a way that the Founders intended and we’re advancing an issue that is a big priority to the hardworking taxpayers of this country. Fixing our roads and our bridges, improving our transportation infrastructure. Chairman Shuster has done a phenomenal job putting this together, and that’s why we’re going to have an open process on the floor with lots of amendments considered by all the members from both parties. I think it’s a good example of how we’re going to do the people’s business, and I’ve told people we are going to do more of this.
"I’m very committed to a complete set of changes to the House rules to make it a more deliberative and participatory process. We’re going to do this as a team, and we’re going to get this right for the American people.”
Bills which may be considered today:
H.R. 22 - To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt employees with health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of determining the employers to which the employer mandate applies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
H. Res. 354 — "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the safety and security of Jewish communities in Europe."
Yesterday, the House passed [Voice Vote unless otherwise indicated]:
H. Res. 293 — "Expressing concern over anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority."
H.R. 1853 (392-0) — "To direct the President to develop a strategy to obtain observer status for Taiwan in the International Criminal Police Organization, and for other purposes."
H.R. 2494 — "To support global anti-poaching efforts, strengthen the capacity of partner countries to counter wildlife trafficking, designate major wildlife trafficking countries, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3361 — "To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish the Insider Threat Program, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3503 — "To require an assessment of fusion center personnel needs, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3505 — "To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to improve the management and administration of the security clearance processes throughout the Department of Homeland Security, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3598 — "To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to enhance the partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Network of Fusion Centers, and for other purposes."
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today and resumed consideration of S. 1140, Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) legislation to overturn the Obama administration’s “Waters of the U.S.” regulation.
The Senate recessed between 12:30 and 2:15 PM for weekly policy lunched. At 2:30 PM the Senate will vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. whether to take up and debate) S. 1140.
The Hill writes today, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) battled over a controversial water regulation from the Obama administration ahead of a procedural vote on Tuesday. ‘The administration's so-called Waters of the U.S. regulation is a cynical and overbearing power grab dressed awkwardly as some clean water measure,’ the Republican leader said from the Senate floor.
“The remarks come ahead of a procedural vote on legislation from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to re-write its rules.
“Barrasso's legislation — which would also give the agency specific instructions and a deadline for writing the new regulation — will need to get 60 votes to overcome Tuesday's hurdle.
“The EPA's Waters of the United States rule is opposed by Republicans and some Democrats, who argue that the agency has overreached on its regulatory authority.”
When the regulation was announced in May, Politico described it as “Obama’s water war,” pointing out that “opponents condemn it as a massive power grab by Washington, saying it will give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in and penalize landowners every time a cow walks through a ditch.”
The New York Times added, “The rule, which would apply to about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water, comes as part of a broader effort by Mr. Obama to use his executive authority to build a major environmental legacy, without requiring new legislation from the Republican-controlled Congress.”
Further, The NYT reported, “Farmers fear that the rule could impose major new costs and burdens, requiring them to pay fees for environmental assessments and to obtain permits just to till the soil near gullies, ditches or dry streambeds where water flows only when it rains. A permit is required for any activity, like farming or construction, that creates a discharge into a body of water covered under the Clean Water Act or affects the health of it, like filling in a wetland or blocking a stream. ‘It’s going to cause a nightmare for farmers,’ said Don Parrish, senior director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation. . . .
“Industry groups also warned that enforcement of the new rule would create a profusion of lawsuits and other legal red tape. If property owners fail to apply for permits to build, till, develop or perform other potentially polluting activities near water bodies, they can be sued by the E.P.A. Environmental advocates and even private citizens will also be able to bring lawsuits against landowners who might be in violation of the regulations.”
Speaking on the Senate floor today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell explained the upshot of this costly regulation from the EPA. “If you’re looking for an excuse to extend the reach of the federal bureaucracy as widely and intrusively as possible, why not just issue a regulation giving bureaucrats dominion over land that has touched a pothole, or a ditch, or a puddle at some point?
“That would seem to be pretty much everything. And that’s why the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ regulation is so worrying. It would force Americans who live near potholes, and ditches, and puddles to ask bureaucrats for permission to do just about anything on their own property.
“Want to spray some weeds? Fill out a permit. Want to put a small pond in your backyard? Ask Uncle Sam. Want to build a barn or just about anything else on the land you own? Good luck getting approval from the feds for that.
“One court said that this regulation was so ridiculous it had to be the result of ‘a process that is inexplicable, arbitrary, and devoid of a reasoned process.’”
He then explained the need for Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) bill, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which the Senate will vote on this afternoon. Leader McConnell said, ".... A bipartisan majority of the Senate supports the Federal Water Quality Protection Act.
“What it says is pretty simple. If the Administration is actually serious about protecting waterways — and not just cynically using this regulation as a ploy to extend the bureaucracy’s reach — then it should follow the proper process to get to a balanced outcome.
“It should appropriately consult with the Americans who would be most affected by the regulation, especially farmers, ranchers, and small businesses — not to mention the homebuilders, manufacturers, mine operators, and utility providers . . . It should appropriately consult with states. It should actually conduct the regulatory impact analyses required of it.
“In short, what this bipartisan bill would do is require the Administration to actually follow the balanced approach it should have followed in the first place.
“It’s common-sense, bipartisan legislation that would protect our waterways while protecting the American people from a heavy-handed regulation that threatens their property rights and their livelihoods. A similar bill has already passed the House with bipartisan support.”
“... I call on every colleague to join me in standing up for the Middle Class instead of defending cynical, job-crushing regulations.
“I ask them to join me in supporting the bipartisan Federal Water Quality Protection Act this afternoon.”
Tags: The Senate, Obama, EPA, Waterway Regulation, Water Power Grab, Speaker Paul Ryan, changes, The House To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!