Congressional Update

On April 6th, President Biden vetoed a bipartisan congressional resolution that would repeal the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that was implemented by the Biden Administration’s EPA. A major point of contention since it was introduced in 2021, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the rule was not a “commonsense conservation measure,” but instead that it was a “radical power grab that would give federal bureaucrats sweeping control over nearly every piece of land that touches a pothole, ditch, or puddle.” The President’s veto ends Congressional efforts to overturn the rule, however, the Supreme Court is likely to invalidate part or all of it. Justices are expected to rule by June in a case that centers on the reach of the 1972 water law.

Meanwhile, Congress may be out of town on Easter/Passover Recess, but that does not mean staffers are not working, including EMA’s efforts to push lawmakers for a bicameral, bipartisan letter to the EPA detailing the unintended consequences of the EPA’s proposed gasoline bulk plant vapor recovery rule. At this time, EMA has secured leads in the Senate and House, and rather than identify a small group of members, EPA is covering the waterfront to urge members of both parties to support EMA member companies’ small gasoline bulk plant operations nationwide. When Congress returns from its recess, EMA intends to continue identifying members of Congress that will support our members in fighting this onerous regulation.

Separately, EMA continues to work with Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN) to identify support for a letter to oppose the Biden Administration’s proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulation that would cut the maximum length for emergency hours of service waivers from 30 days to 5 days. EMA members – and reasonable members of Congress – know that this 5-day proposal will leave a lot of individuals exposed in the event of a natural disaster, and EMA is working to ensure the Administration understands this and, with any hope, shelves its proposal.

In addition, when Congress returns, EMA expects a number of members and committees to continue work on major authorizing legislation, like the Farm Bill and FAA Reauthorization. EMA also anticipates the FY 2024 appropriations cycle will pick up in full force. Needless to say, this recess is very much the calm before the storm as Congress will be back and ready to get to work.