This Week in Congress
This week, the House voted on legislation that would overturn a Biden administration rule expanding environmental protection for additional bodies of water, along with bills related to social media censorship, declassifying information on COVID-19 origins, and expanding emergency health-care coverage for veterans at facilities outside the Veterans Affairs Department system. The Senate held nomination votes and a vote on the House-passed bill blocking the District of Columbia's new criminal code. The D.C. Council unanimously passed a sweeping overhaul of the city’s criminal code late last year. The bill would have changed how Washington approaches crime, including eliminating most mandatory minimum sentences and reducing mandatory maximum penalties. Mayor Bowser also opposed the changes passed by the D.C. Council and vetoed them. Her veto was overridden, sending the bill to Congress. On Thursday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing to probe the circumstances around the Ohio train derailment, with testimony from Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw. Finally, a federal regulation expanding environmental protection for additional bodies of water would be blocked through the Congressional Review Act under H.J. Res. 27. The 2023 WOTUS rule reinstates a standard to determine jurisdictional water bodies using a “significant nexus” test and is currently facing a Supreme Court challenge in Sackett v. EPA. The rule was published on January 18th and is slated to go into effect on March 20th.