Paul Ryan’s Omnibus Budget Surrenders to EPA Radicals

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) conducts his weekly news briefing December 17, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The House is scheduled to vote on the nearly $700 billion tax package today and the $1.1 trillion spending bill, which will keep the government runs through …
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Speaker Paul Ryan continues predecessor John Boehner’s tradition of surrendering to liberal Democrats.

Ryan’s decision to remove critical riders from the Omnibus budget bill that intended to stop the EPA’s radical and statutorily unauthorized new rules that could devastate America’s coal and farming industries is just the most recent version of the GOP white flag.

A vote on the Omnibus budget deal is imminent in the House, now that it has passed the companion tax bill.

The first environmental rider was designed to legislatively neuter the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule, published in June, in which the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers seek to regulate puddles on private property. Earlier this week, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that said the agency’s social media campaign in support of the rule was illegal. In October, a federal appeals court placed a stay on the regulation, a consequence of litigation brought by 22 states.

The second environmental rider was designed to invalidate the controversial coal fired power plant carbon dioxide emissions reduction rule, also finalized in June.

As the Daily Signal reported, both of these conservative-backed environmental riders were among the 150 conservative riders Ryan unceremoniously dropped to insure the bill receives enough Democrat votes to pass.

The Washington Post was quick to declare Ryan’s cave-in to the environmental radicals a complete victory for Democrats:

Democratic win. The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent update of clean water regulations, known as the “Waters of the United States” rule, extended federal protection to new U.S. waterways — and provoked a stern response from Republicans, who said it would have a grave impact on farmers, ranchers and businesses. Democrats filibustered GOP attempts to block the rule this fall, and a push to include a rider in the spending bill also fell short. But the new regulations are on hold in any case: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit put the so-called “WOTUS” rule on hold in October.

Democratic win. Republicans hoped to attack President Obama’s climate change agenda from at least two fronts. For one, they have tried to strike down or at least delay the Clean Power Plan rules issued by the down or at least delay the Clean Power Plan rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the first federal effort to limit carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

If anything, the Washington Post downplayed the scope of the Democratic victory. Speaker Ryan readily bent to the will of radical liberals on these environmental riders.

Both the Waters of the U.S. and coal fired power plant carbon dioxide emission reduction rules represented new lows in Obama administration advocacy far beyond statutory authority.

As Breitbart News reported previously on the carbon dioxide emission rules:

It is not the Congress of the United States that’s making energy law in America today. Instead, it is far left bureaucrats in the Obama administration and their wealthy far left ideologue friends who run a handful of environmental activist groups and OFA.

The kabuki theater process by which the EPA demanded states reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants by 32 percent through regulatory fiat is just the most recent and most egregious example of this subversion of the law.

Consider these facts:

(1) There is no statutory authority for the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions, and particularly from coal fired power plants.

(2) A dozen liberal states, including Connecticut, where current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the time served as head of the Department of Environmental Protection, performed an end run around Congress in 2007, and persuaded five liberal judges on the Supreme Court to legislate from the bench and declare carbon dioxide a pollutant in the case Massachusetts v. EPA.

(3) When the rule was proposed in June 2014, its key enforcement mechanism—requiring states to develop carbon dioxide emission level compliance rather than specifying pollution control equipment—had no statutory authority.

(4) The public comment period from June 2014 to December 2014 was conducted in close cooperation with ideological allies, such as Organizing for Action. The agency highlighted supporters and ignored opponents of the rule.

The WOTUS rule was equally egregious. In May, the House passed Rep. Bill Shuster’s bill, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would stop it, but the Senate has failed to act on that legislation.

“Pennsylvania’s farmers, homebuilders, and small businesses are a backbone of our economy and the EPA’s attempt to stifle their growth through this federal power grab will cause great harm to our region,” Shuster said three months later in August when a federal district judge stayed the rule. He added:

The House has passed my legislation, H.R.1732 the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would require the EPA to withdraw their [Waters of the U.S.] rule and go back to the drawing board. I will continue urging them to reconsider this misguided proposal, which creates a new level of unchecked government expansion that tramples state and local government rights along with the individuals that will be forced to face major government fines that will cripple their businesses.

Conservatives included a rider to the Omnibus budget bill designed to accomplish the objectives of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act the House passed in May, but Ryan took that rider out as well.

Back in November, Ryan gave conservatives some hope he might push for their agenda, as Politico reported at the time:

Here’s what the Republican wish list includes: block Waters of the United States regulations that some Democratic moderates also oppose; overwrite a proposed fiduciary rule that would make brokers legally liable for the investment advice they give to customers; kill the EPA’s clean power plan, which Republicans fear will hurt home-state coal companies; and continue to chip away at Obamacare.

But in the cold December light of Inside-the-Beltway realpolitik, Ryan’s private dinner with Democratic Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi in his Capitol Hill office last week, catered by a local steakhouse, held more sway in his final decisions about the Omnibus budget bill than those November promises he made to his more conservative GOP colleagues.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.