Senate to vote Wednesday on undoing Obama methane rule

Senate to vote Wednesday on undoing Obama methane rule
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The Senate will consider on Wednesday a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a contentious Obama administration methane waste rule.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (R-Ky.) brought the measure to the floor on Tuesday evening as Republican supporters of the resolution said they expect to have the votes. 

"I think we'll have the votes to pass it," Sen. John HoevenJohn HoevenGOP senator criticizes EPA head's closed-door meeting in North Dakota Senate GOP eyes end to August session McCain absence adds to GOP agenda’s uncertainty MORE (R-N.D.) said on Tuesday. "We feel we'll be able to pass it."

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Wednesday is the second-to-last day the Senate can approve the legislation under the terms of the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows lawmakers to nix administrative regulations through an act of Congress.

The resolution would undo a Bureau of Land Management regulation issued late in the Obama administration that limits venting and flaring of methane from natural gas drilling sites.

Republican supporters of the resolution have hunted for the votes necessary to pass the bill for months, and they have little margin for error. Two Republicans are expected to vote against the measure, and two undecided members — Sens. Cory GardnerCory GardnerScarborough: Trump has chosen the 'wrong side' Moore, Strange advance in Alabama GOP primary GOP senator: Nazis should 'go back to their hole' MORE (R-Colo.) and Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampTrump's Democratic tax dilemma It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him The real litmus test is whether pro-life democrats vote for pro-life legislation MORE (D-N.D.) — remain publicly undecided this week.

A group of Midwestern GOP senators has also threatened to hold up the vote as leverage in an ongoing ethanol policy dispute. Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyWhite House clarifies: We condemn all violence Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville Grassley reverses ‘expectation’ of Supreme Court vacancy this year MORE (R-Iowa) would not say Tuesday whether that issue had been resolved.

Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellDemocrats demand changes to FCC Republican nominee's confirmation Bipartisanship? It's happening to secure America's energy future Senate confirms Trump's nominee for No. 2 Interior post MORE (D-Wash.) said on Tuesday that she is “confident the Democrats are going to be strong” in opposing the CRA resolution, which requires only a majority vote to pass.

President Trump is expected to sign the resolution if it comes to his desk. He already signed an executive order beginning the process of ending the rule, but the administrative route he ordered takes a lot longer than the immediate impact of a CRA resolution.

— Timothy Cama contributed.