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 McConnellPrice: 'No guarantees' people won't fall through cracks of healthcare bill Senate Republicans reluctant to rush vote on healthcare bill GOP senator defends funding Planned Parenthood 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 considers keeping ObamaCare taxes Senators want governors involved in health talks Republicans go to battle over pre-existing conditions 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 GardnerKoch political leader says GOP healthcare bill not conservative enough Motorcycle officer in Pence motorcade injured after crash Pence meets with Koch brother in Colorado MORE (R-Colo.) and Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampSenate Dem undecided on 2018 reelection run Trump ‘regulatory czar’: Two-for-one rule can work Congress should just say no to more green energy handouts 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 GrassleySenate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP senator surprises top Dem with birthday cake MORE (R-Iowa) would not say Tuesday whether that issue had been resolved.

Sen. Maria CantwellMaria CantwellDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Overnight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief Dems urge Sessions to reject AT&T-Time Warner merger 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.