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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Manchin and Senate GOP vote to overturn EPA emissions rule

Apr 27, 2023

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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The Senate voted 50-49 to overturn an EPA rule that would create significantly stricter emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks. All 49 Republicans and Democrat Joe Manchin, W.V., voted in favor of the bill, which used a provision in the Congressional Review Act that allows Congress to overturn final agency rules with a joint resolution. 

The rule would require heavy-duty trucks, from semis to Ford F-250s, to improve their emissions to nearly six times below the current allowable level. 

One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., contends the biggest source of NOx emissions is older trucks, and by increasing the cost of a new truck, the regulation would incentivize keeping older, high-emitting vehicles. 

“As families suffer under the burden of high inflation, the last thing we need are more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers. Today, the Senate took bipartisan action to stop yet another aggressive Biden regulation that would drive up costs for consumers, increase vehicle costs, and hurt good-paying jobs,” Fischer said. 

To implement the new technology, the EPA estimated costs of $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle. The American Truck Dealers Association estimated the real price would be up to $42,000 per truck. Fischer’s office expressed concern that the expense would be prohibitive for “mom-and-pop” trucking businesses. 

The Biden administration argued the rule would result in a $10 billion – $33 billion benefit in lower emissions, in addition to health and environmental benefits that are more difficult to calculate.

If the House passes a joint resolution, President Biden would veto the measure. 

This is not the first time Senate Republicans, who are in the minority, were able to pass resolutions that are not subject to a filibuster. The GOP voted to overturn a Department of Labor rule regarding ESG investing for retirement accounts with help from Sens. Manchin and Jon Tester, D-Mont. President Biden vetoed it.

The Senate also voted 53-43 to overturn new rules that would significantly expand federal regulatory authority for “navigable waters,” officially called Waters of the United States (WOTUS). President Biden vetoed that too. 

The votes demonstrate how Democrats in conservative-leaning states, like Manchin and Tester, are willing to vote against the Biden administration when they think its policies harm their state’s economy.

They are particularly protective of  blue collar jobs like trucking, farming and energy sector positions. 

“The proposed changes would inject further regulatory confusion, place unnecessary burdens on small businesses, manufacturers, farmers and local communities, and cause serious economic damage,” Manchin said after he voted against the WOTUS rule. 

“I believe it undermines retirement accounts for working Montanans and is wrong for my state,” Sen. Tester said after voting against the ESG retirement rule. 

Manchin is up for reelection in 2024. West Virginia’s term-limited Gov. Jim Justice, R, just announced he will seek to challenge Manchin. Justice was initially elected governor as a Democrat but changed parties. This will be a closely watched race of two worthy adversaries – Manchin was also governor of the state from 2005-2010. 

Tester is in a similar position. He is running for reelection in 2024 in a state former President Trump won by 17 percentage-points in 2020.

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