Joe Biden issues second veto of his presidency on Clean Water Act regulation

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Water moves through a spillway of the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River near Almota, Washington. The benefits provided by four giant hydroelectric dams on the Snake River must be replaced before the dams can be breached to save endangered salmon runs, according to a final report issued last August by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. Nicholas K. Geranios/AP Images

President Joe Biden vetoed the second bill of his presidency on April 6, 2023. Biden vetoed H.J.Res.27, a joint resolution of disapproval under the terms of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that sought to void an Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers rule from 2023 that specified “which bodies of water fall under the scope of the Clean Water Act and are thereby under federal jurisdiction and protected.”

In his veto message, Biden said, “The resolution would leave Americans without a clear definition of ‘Waters of the United States’. The increased uncertainty caused by H.J. Res. 27 would threaten economic growth, including for agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities. […] The resolution would also negatively affect tens of millions of United States households that depend on healthy wetlands and streams.”

Overriding a presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress. The House of Representatives and Senate both initially passed the resolution by a simple majority.

The House of Representatives voted 227-198 to approve the resolution on March 9, 2023. The Senate voted 53-43 to approve the resolution on March 29. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) introduced the resolution on February 2.

President Ronald Reagan issued the most vetoes (87) of all presidents since 1981. Biden, with two vetoes, has issued the fewest. President Donald Trump issued the second-fewest vetoes (9) within this timeframe.

Presidents have issued 2,586 vetoes in American history. Congress has overridden 112. President Franklin D. Roosevelt vetoed 635 bills, the most of any president. Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Q. Adams, William H. Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, and James A. Garfield did not issue any vetoes.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.