Senate passes resolution that would overturn Biden's highway emissions rule

 April 12, 2024

The Senate voted to overturn a Biden climate regulation on Wednesday that is already facing pushback from federal courts.

The Federal Highway Administration rule requires states to set targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions on highways. A resolution to overturn the regulation passed 53-47 on Wednesday after two different federal courts found Biden overstepped his authority.

The Senate vote was backed by two vulnerable Democratic senators, Sherrod Brown (Oh.) and Jon Tester (Mt.), as well as Joe Manchin (D-Wv.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Az.), who are not seeking re-election this year.

Senate challenges Biden climate rule

The White House vowed a swift veto if the resolution passes the House, calling Biden's highway rule “a common-sense, good-government tool for transparently managing transportation-related GHG emissions and informing transportation investment decisions."

The lead sponsor of the resolution, Kevin Cramer (R-Nd.), called Biden's regulation "arrogance on steroids."

"The Biden administration should have never introduced this rule. But now we, the policymaking branch of government, must end it. I urge all my colleagues to stand up for the Senate and vote for this restoration of Article One powers."

The regulation was similarly criticized by Manchin as intrusive and part of an "unworkable, one-size-fits-all approach."

"In places where traffic congestion is scarce and emissions are already low, it’s functionally impossible to meet these targets without devastating impacts to our economy," he said.

"The only way to do it would be to simply stop people from driving on highways."

Federal courts push back

The vote comes after two different federal judges appointed by President Trump found that Biden was pushing the limits of his own infrastructure law.

“If the people, through Congress, believe that the states should spend the time and money necessary to measure and report GHG emissions and set declining emission targets, they may do so by amending Section 150 or passing a new law," said Judge James Wesley Hendrix of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

"But an agency cannot make this decision for the people."

Biden's efforts to impose a climate agenda by executive fiat have faced regular pushback from courts and a cool reception from the American public, which has been slow to embrace electric vehicles despite an aggressive federal push.

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