McConnell sets up Senate fight on Obama water oversight rule

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is prepping the Senate for a fight over a controversial water regulation from the Obama administration. 

The Kentucky Republican scheduled a procedural vote on whether to proceed to legislation from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) for Tuesday afternoon. The maneuvering came after a late night of votes on a two-year budget agreement. 
{mosads}The proposal would require the administration to try again on crafting regulations to define the federal government’s oversight of streams, wetlands and other waterways. It also provides the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with specific instructions and a deadline for how to write the new rule. 
The EPA’s Waters of the United States rule has gained fierce pushback from Republicans and some Democrats, who argue that it’s an overextension that would allow the agency to add ditches and puddles to its jurisdiction. 
Barrasso’s proposal has gained the support of 43 Republican senators, as well as three Democrats — Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.). However, Barrasso will need 60 votes to overcome Tuesday’s procedural hurdle. 
Introducing the legislation earlier this year, the Wyoming Republican said it would give the EPA direction to help it write “a reasonable rule that will truly protect America’s navigable waterways and adjacent wetlands.”
The Senate could also turn to a separate proposal from Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) that would use the Congressional Review Act — a procedural tactic to streamline blocking regulations — to overturn the EPA regulation. Forty-nine senators, all Republicans, have officially backed the proposal, which would also need to be passed by the House and signed by President Obama. 
Tags Heidi Heitkamp Joe Donnelly Joe Manchin John Barrasso Mitch McConnell

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