U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced a Congressional Review Act joint resolution of disapproval to overturn a 2023 rule issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that they say constitutes government overreach.

The FHWA rule mandates that state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) set declining emissions targets. This rule, say the Republicans, attempts to use authority that was specifically excluded from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enacted in 2021.

“FHWA’s final rule limits the flexibility of states to advance their own transportation investment priorities, jeopardizing critical investments, jobs, and economic growth across the country,” said Sen. Capito, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “When we negotiated the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we specifically left out the authority FHWA is attempting to exercise with its greenhouse gas emissions performance measure requirement. 

“As we’ve done before, I am committed to working with my Senate and House colleagues to hold the Biden administration accountable,” added the senator, who is one of 47 original cosponsors of Senate Joint Resolution 61, which is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

If enacted, the joint resolution would provide for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5 of the U.S. Code of the rule submitted by the FHWA related to “National Performance Management Measures; Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Measure.” 

Rep. Graves signed on as the lead original cosponsor of House Joint Resolution 114, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) and 62 other GOP original cosponsors.

“While the infrastructure law included provisions to address transportation-related environmental impacts and transportation resiliency, Congress considered and specifically rejected the inclusion of a GHG performance measure requirement during negotiations,” said Rep. Graves, chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “The Biden administration needs to implement the law that was written – not a law that it keeps wishing had been written.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the only Democrat to sign on to the joint resolution, is the lead original cosponsor of the Senate version.

“The FHWA’s final rule is yet another example of irresponsible federal overreach. This rule will cause serious economic damage to our transportation industries, especially in rural states like West Virginia with heavy freight traffic,” Sen. Manchin said. “Let me be clear – the administration does not have the authority to burden state DOTs with these radical emissions performance measures without congressional direction. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to oppose the FHWA’s unlawful and economically irresponsible power grab.”

The joint resolution is supported by numerous entities, including the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Bus Association, the American Farm Bureau, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, the National Utility Contractors Association, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among many others.