Veto Expected After Congress Rescinds EPA Emissions Rule

White House Says Heavy-Duty Truck Rule Will Save Lives
Traffic on a California highway
Traffic on a California highway. Democrats defended EPA’s rule as a necessary public health measure. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images and Tribune Content Agency)

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A proposal to roll back federal emission standards associated with heavy-duty commercial vehicles advanced to President Joe Biden, who has vowed to veto the legislation.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue on the nation’s borrowing authority with the deadline fast approaching. The federal debt ceiling is estimated to be reached June 1.

The House voted 221- 203 on a joint resolution to block a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule designed to reduce trucking emissions. The chamber’s approval May 23 cleared the measure for the president’s consideration.

Specifically, the Republican-led legislative effort would invalidate an agency rule initiated at the start of the year that sets standards for reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides linked to medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.



Republicans commenced this legislative process in February and argued the new emission standards would result in an increase in trucking operational costs.

“The EPA’s own estimates say their emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks could cost more than $8,000 per semi-truck,” the GOP leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee stated shortly after the vote. “This will jack up prices for everything transported by truck, including food, clothing, building materials. The American people can’t afford this regulation and it’ll force small operators [to] close up shop, which will wreak havoc across our supply chains.”

“I’m glad to see the House pass our legislation to stop this aggressive Biden regulation because every American consumer will feel the effects of this rule and its price increases,” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), the measure’s key sponsor.

Every American consumer will feel the effects of this rule and its price increases.

Sen. Deb Fisher (R-Neb.)


She continued: “Raising costs and driving truckers out of business isn’t just bad for the transportation sector, it would be devastating for an economy still reeling from the impacts of inflation. I encourage President Biden to reevaluate his misguided veto threat and sign this bipartisan bill into law.”

Prior to the House vote, the Senate had passed the measure by a 50-49 vote. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined with the unified group of Republicans.

“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,” the senator from West Virginia said in explaining his vote.

Joe Manchin


During the Senate’s consideration of the measure, Biden announced his intention to proceed with a veto. A statement by the White House’s budget division indicated, “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.”

Various stakeholders, including American Trucking Associations, have pushed back on certain administration efforts related to emissions.

Chris Spear


“Our industry has always found ways to partner with EPA on regulations that are tough but achievable. If EPA wants us to remain a willing participant, their going back and changing what was already agreed upon is not how to do it,” ATA President Chris Spear said recently.

Meanwhile, the White House and congressional leaders have yet to arrive at a resolution pertaining to raising the federal debt ceiling. Principals involved in the negotiations have acknowledged a sense of urgency. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pointed to June 1 as the estimated deadline for the federal government to reach its borrowing limit.

“Let me tell the American public: I am not going to give up. We are not going to default. We are going to solve this problem,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said May 24.

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