Biden Vetoes Joint Resolution Against His Water Rule

President Joe Biden has vetoed a joint resolution from the House and Senate that would have repealed his Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, delivering what could be a fatal blow to that specific challenge to his environmental agenda. The expected veto was issued on the afternoon of April 6. “I just vetoed a bill that attempted to block our Administration from protecting our nation’s waterways—a resource millions of Americans depend on—from destruction and pollution,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Incorrect. President Biden’s overreaching WOTUS rule jeopardizes the livelihoods of American farmers and small businesses,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote in response to Biden’s Twitter post. The joint resolution of disapproval passed the Republican-led House with a vote of 227–198 on March 9. It then passed the Democrat-led Senate on March 30 with a vote of 53–43. Notably, it drew support from non-Republicans in rural states, where Biden’s WOTUS definition is seen as a major issue for landowners and which contain many of the United States’ greatest natural wonders and protected lands. Those outliers included Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-N.M.), along with Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.). A small portion of the Yellowstone buffalo herd graze in the early evening in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, on Oct. 8, 2012. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images) Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Fetterman (D-Penn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t vote. Both the House and the Senate would need a two-thirds vote to overcome Biden’s veto—an improbable outcome, given the current partisan configuration of Congress. It’s just the second veto of Biden’s presidency, and it comes months into a divided Congress in which the Republican-led House has set its sights on regulations promulgated by the Biden administration. Biden’s first veto also related to his environmental agenda, targeting an anti-ESG investment measure. “There is extensive evidence showing that environmental, social, and governance factors can have a material impact on markets, industries, and businesses,” the White House stated about that veto. “The fact that Biden’s first veto is about promoting ESG reveals the problem: this isn’t the invisible hand of the ‘free market,’” Vivek Ramaswamy, a prominent anti-ESG investor and Republican presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter. “It’s the invisible fist of government.” ‘Waters of the United States’ Drives Conflict WOTUS has long been a source of controversy. The Clean Water Act subjects the “waters of the United States” to regulation by the federal government. The original law defined those waters as the country’s “navigable waterways.” Many environmentalists prefer broader views of WOTUS, arguing that the regulation is vital for the protection of marshland and other habitats. Yet many farmers, ranchers, and other landowners see broader definitions of WOTUS as burdensome, impractical, and sometimes even damaging to the environment. “Farmer after farmer in my district talked to me about the litigation that they’ve become mired in over the WOTUS definition and their frustrations with simply trying to put in a pond, or improve their own land,” Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said during a March committee hearing on the House component of the joint resolution. “Congressional efforts such as this, as well as the previous administration’s rulemaking and the revisionist tendencies of conservative judges on [the] Supreme Court, all share a common goal: to weaken the federal protections of our nation’s waters and benefit those who are polluting rivers, streams, and wetlands,” Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) said during the same hearing. In a message to the House, Biden said that by overturning his WOTUS definition, the joint resolution would “threaten economic growth, including for agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities.” “Farmers would be left wondering whether artificially irrigated areas remain excluded or not. Construction crews would be left wondering whether their waterfilled gravel pits remain excluded or not. The resolution would also negatively affect tens of millions of United States households that depend on healthy wetlands and streams.”

Biden Vetoes Joint Resolution Against His Water Rule

President Joe Biden has vetoed a joint resolution from the House and Senate that would have repealed his Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, delivering what could be a fatal blow to that specific challenge to his environmental agenda.

The expected veto was issued on the afternoon of April 6.

“I just vetoed a bill that attempted to block our Administration from protecting our nation’s waterways—a resource millions of Americans depend on—from destruction and pollution,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“Incorrect. President Biden’s overreaching WOTUS rule jeopardizes the livelihoods of American farmers and small businesses,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote in response to Biden’s Twitter post.

The joint resolution of disapproval passed the Republican-led House with a vote of 227–198 on March 9.

It then passed the Democrat-led Senate on March 30 with a vote of 53–43.

Notably, it drew support from non-Republicans in rural states, where Biden’s WOTUS definition is seen as a major issue for landowners and which contain many of the United States’ greatest natural wonders and protected lands.

Those outliers included Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-N.M.), along with Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).

Epoch Times Photo
A small portion of the Yellowstone buffalo herd graze in the early evening in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, on Oct. 8, 2012. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Fetterman (D-Penn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn’t vote.

Both the House and the Senate would need a two-thirds vote to overcome Biden’s veto—an improbable outcome, given the current partisan configuration of Congress.

It’s just the second veto of Biden’s presidency, and it comes months into a divided Congress in which the Republican-led House has set its sights on regulations promulgated by the Biden administration.

Biden’s first veto also related to his environmental agenda, targeting an anti-ESG investment measure.

“There is extensive evidence showing that environmental, social, and governance factors can have a material impact on markets, industries, and businesses,” the White House stated about that veto.

“The fact that Biden’s first veto is about promoting ESG reveals the problem: this isn’t the invisible hand of the ‘free market,’” Vivek Ramaswamy, a prominent anti-ESG investor and Republican presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter. “It’s the invisible fist of government.”

‘Waters of the United States’ Drives Conflict

WOTUS has long been a source of controversy.

The Clean Water Act subjects the “waters of the United States” to regulation by the federal government. The original law defined those waters as the country’s “navigable waterways.”

Many environmentalists prefer broader views of WOTUS, arguing that the regulation is vital for the protection of marshland and other habitats. Yet many farmers, ranchers, and other landowners see broader definitions of WOTUS as burdensome, impractical, and sometimes even damaging to the environment.

“Farmer after farmer in my district talked to me about the litigation that they’ve become mired in over the WOTUS definition and their frustrations with simply trying to put in a pond, or improve their own land,” Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said during a March committee hearing on the House component of the joint resolution.

“Congressional efforts such as this, as well as the previous administration’s rulemaking and the revisionist tendencies of conservative judges on [the] Supreme Court, all share a common goal: to weaken the federal protections of our nation’s waters and benefit those who are polluting rivers, streams, and wetlands,” Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) said during the same hearing.

In a message to the House, Biden said that by overturning his WOTUS definition, the joint resolution would “threaten economic growth, including for agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities.”

“Farmers would be left wondering whether artificially irrigated areas remain excluded or not. Construction crews would be left wondering whether their waterfilled gravel pits remain excluded or not. The resolution would also negatively affect tens of millions of United States households that depend on healthy wetlands and streams.”