President Joe Biden’s effort to institute a new rule that would reduce pollution coming from heavy-duty trucks was overturned by the Senate earlier this week.
By a vote of 50-49, the rule was overturned by the Senate. All 49 Republicans voted in favor of overturning the rule, and they were joined by moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia.
With California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein still absent from the upper chamber due to health concerns, Republicans were able to win this vote. Had she been present and voted along with most other liberals, the vote would have ended in a tie and required Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote – which assuredly would’ve preserved the Biden administration rule.
Even though the resolution passed in the Senate, it likely won’t prevail. On Wednesday, the White House said the president would veto this effort. In order for Congress to override Biden’s veto, it would need to gain the support from two-thirds of the members of both chambers.
Biden’s rule was aiming to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, pollutants that can harm a person’s respiratory system. They’re also found in acid rain.
According to the EPA, the new rule would prevent up to 2,900 premature deaths as well as result in 18,000 fewer cases of asthma in children on an annual basis by 2045.
Republicans in the Senate, though, say that the rules place undue burdens on the trucking industry and, as a result, could make inflation even worse than it already is.
Republican Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska argued to a floor speech this week:
“Additional inflationary burdens on the trucking industry will mean that any product transported by trucks – whether it’s food, clothing or other commodities – each one of those products will cost more.”
Ahead of the official Senate vote that overturned Biden’s emissions rule, Manchin said that he would be joining members of the GOP. In a written statement that he issued before the vote took place, he said:
“The Biden Administration wants to burden the trucking industry with oppressive regulations that will increase prices by thousands of dollars and push truck drivers and small trucking companies out of business. When our country faces record-high inflation and vulnerable supply chains, we cannot let the EPA continue to seize unrestrained power and create regulations that devastate our economy.”
Despite all this kick-back from Republicans – and even one Democrat – on the issue, the White House is sticking to its guns. The Biden administration believes the rule is necessary to protect the environment.
It’s right in line with other initiatives the president is trying to take to fight climate change and other liberal issues, such as issuing regulations about retirement investing and water policy.
On Wednesday, the White House defended the rule when it said:
“Heavy-duty vehicles and engines contribute to pollutants that threaten public health. Over time, the final rule will prevent hundreds of premature deaths, thousands of childhood asthma cases, and millions of lost school-days every year for the tens of millions of Americans who live, work and go to school near roadways with high truck volume including truck freight routes.”