11.06.15

Editorial: Right Move: Capito, Manchin Stand Up for W.Va. with Vote

It is possible for U.S. senators to put the good of their political parties aside and do the right thing for Americans. Look at Sens. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

According to the political rulebook, they should be at each other's throats much of the time. But no, they are on the same side frequently, fighting for the people of West Virginia. That is the glaring exception rather than the rule on Capitol Hill, unfortunately.

Earlier this week, a bill to block the proposed "Waters of the United States" regulations planned by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came up for a vote.

The WOTUS, as it has come to be called, should worry the dickens out of many Americans. It would give the federal government sweeping new authority over how we use land we own. As Capito put it in as speech on the floor of the Senate, "Something as simple as digging a ditch on a farm or building a home on privately owned property could be under the purview of the EPA."

And, she added, "failure to comply with the rule could result in fines as high as $37,500 per day."

Both Manchin and Capito were co-sponsors of the bill to curb government power under the WOTUS plan. On Tuesday, supporters attempted to block a filibuster against the bill. They failed in a 57-41 vote (60, a three-fifths majority, were required to prevail).

Though Manchin and three other Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the bill, 41 other Democrats said no.

Clearly, most Democrat senators still feel they owe their allegiance not to constituents, but to their president's administration.

Clearly, WOTUS is about big, intrusive government, as Manchin pointed out in a floor speech. The EPA plan, he stressed, "represents broad overreach (that) has the force of law without congressional approval. The bottom line is that no federal agency should go around Congress to control what has not been legislated, especially when its actions will harm economic growth."

Yet, again, 41 Democrats toed the party line on the issue.

A new campaign to rein in the EPA, using a different tactic, is being mounted. It envisions use of congressional resolutions of disapproval, which can be passed by simple majorities. Clearly, in view of the breakdown of bipartisanship in Congress - traceable on EPA issues to President Barack Obama's insistence on giving the agency virtually imperialistic authority - a different approach is vital.


Source: Martinsburg Journal