NFIB named H.J.Res. 27 as a Key Vote for the 118th Congress
Federal jurisdiction over Waters of the United States (WOTUS) continues to be an issue for small business owners. NFIB announced H.J.Res. 27, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to repeal the new WOTUS rule, as the first NFIB U.S. Senate Key Vote for the 118th Congress and sent a letter of support. The U.S. House vote was also an NFIB Key Vote for the 118th Congress. NFIB supports the U.S. House and Senate passing the bipartisan congressional challenge to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ WOTUS rule that expanded the federal government’s regulatory authority over wetlands, farms, and private property.
The U.S. House passed the WOTUS CRA resolution to repeal the rule by a vote of 227-198 on March 10 and the Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 53-43 on March 29. Unfortunately, even though both chambers of Congress recently passed the repeal, President Biden vetoed the bipartisan supported resolution on April 6. This adds more uncertainty for small business owners and landowners on whether they need permits for their land.
“The inconsistent standards of the WOTUS final rule creates uncertainty and confusion for America’s small business owners when what they deserve is clarity and consistency,” said Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB Vice President of Federal Government Relations. “The small business community is hopeful that Congress will take action to alleviate the regulatory burdens facing farmers, ranchers, and other small businesses throughout the country.”
Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the WOTUS Rule determines which bodies of water fall under federal jurisdiction. Over the years, presidential administrations have applied very different standards regarding when the federal government has jurisdiction over – and can regulate – wetlands. The EPA’s latest rule reinstates a broader interpretation of the CWA that would expand federal authority over private property wetlands and land across the country. Under this standard, owners would need to acquire federal permits to make changes to lands that are dry most of the year.
NFIB members have identified “unreasonable government regulations” as one of the top problems facing their businesses. Last year, NFIB filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Sackett v. EPA, arguing that the EPA should reverse the lower court’s decision and clarify the proper test for determining the outer bounds of federal authority under the Clean Water Act.
“The WOTUS standard and definition has changed numerous times, complicating the clarity small businesses need in order to comply with government regulations,” said Kuhlman. “The final rule issued by the EPA and the Department of the Army was premature as the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to issue a decision on Sackett v. EPA. Small businesses applaud the U.S. Senate and House for passing this disapproval of the final rule and working to ease the regulatory burdens on small businesses.”
Take Action: Thank those legislators who voted in favor of repealing WOTUS and express your disappointment to those who voted against repealing WOTUS.