Senate looks to override Obama veto of GOP effort to block EPA power grab

Republicans in the Senate are looking for Democratic votes to override a presidential veto of a GOP backed measure that would have prevented the EPA from regulating most of the waters in the US.

The legislation is aimed at a new EPA rule that would give the agency jurisdiction over small streams and tributaries that comprise about 80% of the water in the US.

The Hill:

The Senate will vote Thursday on a long-shot effort to override President Obama’s veto that preserved his contentious water pollution rule.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed for the vote Wednesday, less than a day after Obama announced that he had vetoed the GOP’s attempt to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation.

The rule, dubbed the Clean Water Rule or "Waters of the United States," would extend federal power under the Clean Water Act to small bodies of water such as streams and wetlands. It is highly controversial, with Republicans calling it a massive power grab and Democrats saying it’s needed to protect vulnerable waterways from pollution.

McConnell slammed Obama for his veto earlier Wednesday.

“[Waters of the United States] isn't really a clean-water measure, it’s an unprecedented federal power grab clumsily masquerading as one,” he said in a statement. “In passing a bipartisan measure to overturn it, Congress stood up for the middle class and said that America's clean-water rules should be based on the kind of scientific, collaborative process the American people expect — not Washington politics.”

Obama had told Congress that the measure “seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity need

The resolution under the Congressional Review Act passed the Senate in November with 55 votes, far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override Obama’s veto.

The rule is a nightmare and even if the Senate fails to override the president's veto, it will be tied up in courts for years. So this isn't exactly the last stand for opponents of the rule, but it places the fate of our waterways in the hands of judges who usually side with the EPA.

The president's veto message was disingenuous. Small towns want no part of the EPA looking over their shoulder, and businesses feel the same way. Eventually, the EPA will get around to regulating every damp spot on someone's land - and make you pay for the privilege.

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