September Bill of the Month: Define WOTUS Act

FreedomWorks is excited to announce that our bill of the month for September 2021 is the Define WOTUS Act, H.R. 4570, and S.2168, Introduced by Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) and Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.).

The Big Picture

During the Trump administration, we made tremendous strides in cleaning up the redundant, burdensome, and expansive executive branch bureaucracy. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden is focused on abandoning the pro-growth agenda of the Trump administration and is putting more power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

It is the constitutional role of the legislature, not the executive, to write the laws of our country. Unfortunately, Congress has routinely abdicated its responsibility by writing overly broad legislation and expecting bureaucrats in the executive branch to fill in the blanks.

This poor method of lawmaking not only runs counter to the framers’ vision of our system of government but also threatens consistency based on who occupies the White House.

The Details

The Define WOTUS Act provides clarity for everyday Americans trying to navigate our complex web of bureaucracy by codifying a congressional definition for Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

The Clean Water Act grants the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate “navigable waters,” otherwise known as WOTUS.

Under President Obama, the EPA broadly redefined WOTUS to include even puddles as navigable waters. President Trump rolled back the EPA’s definition to include only genuinely navigable waters. However, Biden is now seeking to return to the Obama administration’s expansive definition.

President Obama’s broad definition gave the EPA the ability to regulate landowners’ private property, a reality that effectively punished rural Americans.

The Define WOTUS Act will codify a congressionally mandated definition of WOTUS to create a consistent definition that does not unfairly target American property owners.

Why It Matters

The overly broad definition of WOTUS used by President Obama was not only burdensome on hardworking Americans but is also a gross overreach of federal authority. Biden’s desire to return to misguided policies that punish rural Americans is nothing more than a power grab for unelected federal bureaucrats.

This bill not only provides Americans with consistency but also reasserts the legislature’s authority. Congress should reclaim its constitutional role as lawmakers from bureaucrats in the executive branch and codify a common-sense definition of WOTUS.

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