Biden Vetoes GOP-Led Truck Emissions Rule Rollback

Republicans in the House Lack Requisite Votes for a Veto Override
trucks on bridge
Vehicles make their way westbound on Interstate 80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. (Ben Margot/AP)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

President Joe Biden vetoed a proposal to roll back federal emission standards associated with heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

On June 14, the president explained the new emissions standards advanced by his administration “further reduce the air quality impacts of heavy-duty engines.”

“The rule cuts pollution, boosts public health, and advances environmental justice in communities across the country. It will prevent hundreds, if not thousands, of premature deaths; thousands of childhood asthma cases; and millions of missed school days every year,” per the president’s statement issued by the White House.

The U.S. House of Representatives in May had cleared for Biden’s signature a joint resolution that would block a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule designed to reduce trucking emissions. The House vote occurred shortly after approval in the Senate. Republicans lack requisite votes for a veto override.

The Republican-led legislative effort would have invalidated an agency rule that was initiated at the start of the year. The EPA is setting standards for reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides linked to medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

“President Biden chose to prioritize his extreme environmental agenda over bipartisan pushback from Congress,” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who led the effort on Capitol Hill. “This veto is more than just a slap in the face to truckers, who transport nearly every consumer good. Pushing this excessive regulation forward will also raise prices for families already grappling with inflation. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on ways to push back against these devastating government mandates.”

Fischer, a senior member of the Commerce Committee on freight policy, shared background about the rule’s potential impact. “The EPA’s regulation would be challenging to implement and make new, compliant trucks cost-prohibitive. By increasing the cost of a new truck, the regulation actually incentivizes keeping older, higher-emitting trucks in service longer. It would also likely force many ‘mom & pop’ commercial trucking operations out of business while encouraging larger trucking operations to pass these higher costs onto consumers,” according to background from the senator.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) had joined with the unified group of Republicans in the Senate. In explaining his support for the measure, Manchin said: “The last couple of years have shown that truck drivers keep our country moving. However, 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.”

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

Various stakeholders endorsed the GOP-led votes on Capitol Hill. During debate on the measure, Bill Sullivan, executive vice president of advocacy at American Trucking Associations, indicated, “ATA believes we must set achievable and realistic targets along the way to our shared goal of zero emissions. To that end, we support Sen. Fischer’s efforts to shine a light on the significant issues with the road map currently being drafted by the administration.”

Sullivan added: “We hope to continue working with her, and other champions in Congress, coalition partners in industry and federal regulators to set and achieve realistic emissions goals for our industry.”