Senate to vote Wednesday on undoing Obama methane rule

Senate to vote Wednesday on undoing Obama methane rule
© Getty Images

The Senate will consider on Wednesday a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a contentious Obama administration methane waste rule.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) brought the measure to the floor on Tuesday evening as Republican supporters of the resolution said they expect to have the votes. 

"I think we'll have the votes to pass it," Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Air Force One is Trump’s new boardroom Overnight Finance: Trump strikes debt, spending deal with Dems | Deal shocks GOP | Fed’s No. 2 to resign | Trump keeps tax squeeze on red state Dems | House aims to pass budget next week MORE (R-N.D.) said on Tuesday. "We feel we'll be able to pass it."

ADVERTISEMENT
Wednesday is the second-to-last day the Senate can approve the legislation under the terms of the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows lawmakers to nix administrative regulations through an act of Congress.

The resolution would undo a Bureau of Land Management regulation issued late in the Obama administration that limits venting and flaring of methane from natural gas drilling sites.

Republican supporters of the resolution have hunted for the votes necessary to pass the bill for months, and they have little margin for error. Two Republicans are expected to vote against the measure, and two undecided members — Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerRepublicans jockey for position on immigration Bipartisan bill would toughen North Korea sanctions, require Trump's strategy GOP senators push for delay of ObamaCare insurer tax MORE (R-Colo.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Red-state Dems need more from Trump before tax embrace MORE (D-N.D.) — remain publicly undecided this week.

A group of Midwestern GOP senators has also threatened to hold up the vote as leverage in an ongoing ethanol policy dispute. Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa) would not say Tuesday whether that issue had been resolved.

Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellUse tax reform to strengthen what’s working: The low-income housing tax credit Senate energy bill is misguided gift to Trump’s dirty fossil fuel agenda Help states solve their housing problems with the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act MORE (D-Wash.) said on Tuesday that she is “confident the Democrats are going to be strong” in opposing the CRA resolution, which requires only a majority vote to pass.

President Trump is expected to sign the resolution if it comes to his desk. He already signed an executive order beginning the process of ending the rule, but the administrative route he ordered takes a lot longer than the immediate impact of a CRA resolution.

— Timothy Cama contributed.