Senate Fails to Take Action on WOTUS

The Senate on Tuesday failed to achieve the necessary 60 votes for cloture on S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would have required the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the final Waters of the U.S. rule and re-propose a new regulation.

The final vote was 57-41. Kaine and Warner were both nays.

“While the effort to send the flawed Waters of the U.S. rule back to the drawing board fell a few votes short, we applaud members of the U.S. Senate who today stood up for farmers and ranchers,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said in a statement. Stallman expressed disappointment in the vote but noted “We know this issue will remain a critical one for America’s farmers and ranchers, and we will continue our fight to protect them from federal regulatory overreach.” 

However, the Senate on Wednesday voted 53-44 to pass a resolution to disapprove the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. rule. The resolution, introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in September, now heads to the House for consideration, although the White House has already issued a veto threat to all WOTUS efforts.

Because the measure was a resolution considered under provisions of the Congressional Review Act, it only required a simple majority, rather than 60 votes, to advance. Sen. Kaine and Sen. Warner were, again, nays. 

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