Republican leaders are using a special legislative tool known as the Congressional Review Act
Thursday's vote is the first of dozen votes expected on undoing Obama era regulations
The Senate voted Thursday to roll back the Stream Protection Rule, an Obama administration regulation aimed at curbing waste from coal mines from entering waterways but that Republicans complained was an onerous job killer in coal country.
The 54-to-45 vote was largely along party lines though four red state Democrats supported it and one moderate Republican voted against it.
The vote came out one day after the measure passed the House 228-194, sending the bill to President Donald Trump’s desk.
This is the first of what is expected to be dozens of environmental, financial disclosure and energy rules put in place by Obama in the last weeks of his tenure that the GOP leaders on the Hill plan to undue using a special legislative tool known as the Congressional Review Act. Trump is expected to sign each of the measures.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, a vocal advocate for the thousands of coal miners in his state, decried the stream rule as a “an 11th hour parting salvo in the Obama Administration’s war on coal families that could threaten one-third of America’s coal mining jobs.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from coal-heavy West Virginia, defended cutting the regulation, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that supporters of the rule “don’t understand how it works.”
“EPA will have control. So will the Corps of Engineers,” Manchin said, calling the Stream Protection Rule “needless” and “duplicated.”
But Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic Whip, called repealing the regulation part of “Trump’s war on clean drinking water.”
“Shame on us if we decide to eliminate this protection for families and run the risk, the very real risk, the pollution in those streams could cause public health issues,” he said on the floor just before the vote.