Construction industry groups are hopeful that Congress will pass legislation to require the Environmental Protection Agency to revise a not-yet-finalized rule defining which bodies of water fall under federal jurisdiction and thus require an Army Corps of Engineers permit authorizing construction or dredging to begin nearby.

But environmental advocates expect that President Obama would veto any measure that seeks to delay implementing the joint EPA-Corps regulation. They say that the bills, introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), would needlessly hold up a rule providing more clarity about which types of waters are protected by the Clean Water Act.

The House moved first, approving Shuster's bill on May 12. But the 261-155 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.

Senate lawmakers have yet to hold a hearing on Barrasso's bill, introduced on April 30. But Barrasso told reporters that he expects the bill to win Senate approval. "This is a bill that is reasonable, balanced and bipartisan," he said. "It gives EPA the direction I believe it needs to write a reasonable rule to truly protect America's navigable waterways and wetlands." Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), a co-sponsor of the bill, said it does not de-fund implementing the rule and, in fact, requires EPA to finalize it before the end of the Obama administration.

Construction groups contend that EPA's rule significantly expands the waters that would require a federal permit. Nick Goldstein, American Road & Transportation Builders Association vice president of environmental and regulatory affairs, says, "We've always maintained that [EPA] cut corners. They didn't do proper consultation with small business, and we don't think they properly analyzed the economic impacts of the bill." He also says the rule, as written, would cause major delays on transportation projects.

But Madeleine Foote, League of Conservation Voters legislative representative, says the rule already has been through an extensive public-comment period. EPA received more than one million comments on the proposal, she says, and the agency and the Corps held about 400 meetings to receive public input.

Foote says, "For over a decade, streams and wetlands have been vulnerable. There is no reason to delay this any longer and force the agency to do more consultations."

Story updated on May 13 too include House floor vote.