The Senate on Wednesday passed a Republican-led effort to undo a Biden administration rule that aims to cut pollution from heavy-duty trucks.
The vote was 50-49. Sen Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voted with Republicans to get rid of the rule. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has been absent from the Senate amid health issues, did not vote.
The rule in question aims to cut down on emissions of pollutants called nitrogen oxides that can harm the respiratory system and are also components of acid rain. The EPA says it will prevent as many as 2,900 premature deaths and 18,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma annually by 2045.
Republicans, however, say it is overly burdensome for the trucking industry and could worsen inflation.
“Additional inflationary burdens on the trucking industry will mean that any product transported by trucks — whether it’s food, clothing, or other commodities — each one of those products will cost more,” Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said in a floor speech Wednesday, according to a copy of her prepared remarks.
Manchin announced ahead of the vote that he would join the Republicans in trying to undo the regulation.
“The Biden Administration wants to burden the trucking industry with oppressive regulations that will increase prices by thousands of dollars and push truck drivers and small trucking companies out of business,” he said in a written statement. “When our country faces record-high inflation and vulnerable supply chains, we cannot let the EPA continue to seize unrestrained power and create regulations that devastate our economy.”
Despite its passage, the resolution is not expected to ultimately prevail. The White House said Wednesday that President Biden would veto the effort, and it is unlikely to be able to win the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.
“Heavy-duty vehicles and engines contribute to pollutants that threaten public health. Over time, the final rule will prevent hundreds of premature deaths, thousands of childhood asthma cases, and millions of lost school-days every year for the tens of millions of Americans who live, work, and go to school near roadways with high truck volume including truck freight routes,” the White House said Wednesday.
The vote, meanwhile, follows efforts to undo several other rules out of the Biden administration, including regulations related to water policy and retirement investing.