In a stunning display of clueless arrogance Mitch McConnell’s Senate Republicans moved forward with a vote to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would have killed the EPA’s new clean water rule. Republicans failed to get enough votes to override the veto.
The final vote was fifteen votes short (52-40) of the 67 needed to override President Obama’s veto. Three red state Democrats, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly (IN) and Joe Manchin (WV) voted with Republicans to override Obama’s veto. Susan Collins (ME) was the only Republican to vote with Democrats to sustain the president’s veto.
In his veto message the President said, “We must protect the waters that are vital for the health of our communities and the success of our businesses, agriculture, and energy development. As I have noted before, too many of our waters have been left vulnerable. Pollution from upstream sources ends up in the rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and coastal waters near which most Americans live and on which they depend for their drinking water, recreation, and economic development.”
The message sent by McConnell and his Republicans was obvious to all. The Senate Republican majority doesn’t care about making sure that the American people have access to clean drinking water. The crisis in Flint has taught Republicans nothing. Republicans originally tried to cut the new clean water rules before the Flint crisis became a national story, but after Flint, a responsible Senate majority might have reconsidered gutting clean water rules after hundreds of children were sickened with lead poisoning in an American city due to contaminated water.
The Republican majority in the Senate is owned by corporations and big business. It doesn’t matter to them if the American people are denied access to clean drinking water. The Senate Republican maneuver to kill new clean water rules was all about enabling polluters. Republicans are determined to make sure that people are not guaranteed access to clean water.
Without Senate Democrats having Obama’s back, the crisis in Flint could be repeated all across the country as Senate Republicans have placed the polluters ahead of the needs of the American people.