- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Senate passed a measure Wednesday to reject President Biden’s new rule to expand the federal government’s jurisdiction over streams and wetlands, marking the latest congressional rebuke for the president and setting the stage for his second veto.

The Democratic-led chamber approved a Congressional Review Act resolution, 53-43, that scuttles what is known as the Waters of the United States, a rule that critics said the Environmental Protection Agency would use to claim authority over small bodies of water such as creeks, ravines and drainage ditches, putting farmland in jeopardy.

The resolution passed the Senate with four Democratic defectors joining Republicans: Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, and Jon Tester of Montana.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted with Republicans to roll back Mr. Biden’s regulation.

Ms. Sinema, Mr. Tester, Mr. Manchin and Ms. Rosen are all up for reelection next year in competitive seats.

Ms. Rosen said she and Ms. Masto broke ranks because of concerns from Nevada farmers.

“That’s what our farmers and ranchers reached out to us and spoke with us about. We prefer the regional approach,” Ms. Rosen said. “With our arid and drought conditions, some of these things are just different for us.”

The resolution passed in the Republican-run House this month with the support of nine Democrats.

The president is set to veto the resolution, as he did with a separate Congressional Review Act resolution rejecting his rule allowing 401(k) managers to base investments on climate change and social justice considerations known as ESG.

However, Congress would lack the votes to muster a two-thirds veto-proof majority to defeat Mr. Biden‘s waterways rule.

Instead, opponents hope the Supreme Court intervenes to render the feud moot. The high court this year is expected to rule on a related case, Sackett v. EPA, in which the justices were asked to determine the proper test for determining whether wetlands and other bodies of water are considered “waters of the U.S.” and under the EPA’s jurisdiction.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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