Congressional Republicans vowed at the beginning of the year to use their new Senate majority to kill President Obama’s climate agenda.
But with a final agreement reached on massive spending and tax-extenders bills Tuesday, it appears the calendar year will have passed with Obama’s climate initiatives still largely intact. While Republicans did secure a repeal of the nation’s ban on crude-oil exports over the wishes of the White House, the deal has no riders to strip away the administration’s environmental regulations.
Nothing on a controversial clean-water rule, nothing on ozone standards, and nothing to stop carbon-emission regulations on new and existing power plants.
And one of the Senate’s biggest foes of the climate rules thinks he knows why.
“There’s been so much pushback from the White House, it’ll be hard to get the riders we want, not just the environmental” ones, said Sen. John Hoeven on Tuesday. “That’s the problem with the omnibus, we should be doing this through regular order.”
Hoeven pointed specifically to a much-discussed rider to kill the Waters of the United States rule, which gives the Environmental Protection Agency more power to regulate pollution in streams and inland waterways. A resolution disapproving of the rule passed with three Democrats on board, but strong resistance from Democratic leadership and the White House kept it off of the final funding bill. Even the finding Monday that EPA had violated federal lobbying laws in building up support for its water rule couldn’t build any momentum for a WOTUS rider.