Ryan slams Obama water rule as 'power grab'

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Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanReport: Ryan close to endorsing Trump Menendez opposing Puerto Rico debt bill Overnight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win MORE (R-Wis.) is hitting a new Obama administration water rule as a federal "power grab" hours before the House votes to block the regulation. 

In a Wednesday op-ed in the Omaha World-Herald, Ryan said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule defining federal power over small waterways is “another example of Washington bureaucrats sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong.”

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Obama will travel to Omaha Wednesday as part of a post-State of the Union trip to highlight his accomplishments and priorities for his last year in office. As he does so, Ryan wrote, “the House of Representatives will vote, and send to the president’s desk, a bill to reject this rule, which has left so many Nebraskans out to dry.”

The EPA water rule, formally called the Clean Water Rule but commonly known as Waters of the United States, is controversial among Republicans, industry groups and agriculture interests, all of whom say it gives the federal government too much power to regulate small waterways like streams and wetlands.

A federal court blocked implementation of the rule in October while lawsuits against it go forward, something Ryan said proves the rule is overly broad. 

“The EPA claims it is only clarifying the law, but Congress never intended the federal government to oversee tiny streams and ponds on private property,” he wrote.

Most Democrats and environmentalists have defended the rule, saying it’s an important step toward protecting the nation’s water. 

The White House has threatened to veto the bill lawmakers will consider on Wednesday, saying it would “nullify years of work and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water.”

The Senate passed the legislation in November, meaning House passage Wednesday will send it to the White House. In his op-ed, Ryan said he knows Obama will veto the bill, but he thinks it sends an important political message anyway.

“It will force him to be up front with the American people about his administration’s power grabs and will set the stage for correcting these abuses in 2017,” he wrote.