The Senate voted Wednesday to rescind a Biden administration emissions regulation for heavy-duty trucks that Republicans decry as too burdensome, warning it will hurt the trucking industry and have negative ripple effects through the economy.
The vote was 50-49, with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia the only Democrat to vote with Republicans.
Republicans utilized the Congressional Review Act, which allows them to bypass Democrats who control the chamber and force a floor vote to revoke the rule at a majority threshold, not the 60 votes often needed to pass legislation.
The Republican-led House is expected to pass the measure as well, although it’s unlikely either chamber would be able to override an expected veto by President Joe Biden. The Office of Management and Budget issued a veto threat ahead of the vote.
The final rule, which was adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency in December, sets “new emission standards that are significantly more stringent and that cover a wider range of heavy-duty engine operating conditions compared to today’s standards,” according to the EPA, which said the change is needed because emissions from those trucks are “important contributors to concentrations of ozone and particulate matter and their resulting threat to public health.”
Republicans dismiss the need for the new approach, arguing the existing standards are already “stringent,” as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday. He warned the tougher standards will add significantly to the costs of new trucks and hurt trucking firms.
“This latest rule on nitrogen oxide emissions takes direct aim at the sort of trucks and heavy equipment that literally drive our entire economy,” McConnell said on the floor. “The same bureaucrats who can’t control inflation or secure the border want to even more closely micromanage the heavy vehicles allowed on our roads.”