President Barack Obama's administration is dismissing incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's vow to target the EPA's efforts to cap carbon emissions and what he calls the "War on Coal."
"I don't believe they can stop us," White House counselor John Podesta said when asked about the Kentucky Republican's plans on a conference call announcing another climate report Monday.
McConnell made fighting the EPA climate regulations a key part of his successful re-election bid, and vowed on election night that his supporters' voices on the issue will be heard in Washington.
But so far the White House has, if anything, accelerated its efforts. Podesta said the EPA would be hard at work finalizing its key rule cutting carbon emissions for existing power plants in the coming months — something that is expected to shutter a number of coal plants by 2030. The president also committed to emissions reductions in an agreement with China's leaders on his Asia trip, and the administration is looking to take other executive actions to align grant and other programs to fight climate change and mitigate its effects. McConnell has two routes he can take — a legislative effort to roll back the regulations, which Obama would surely veto — or risk a government shutdown until Obama cries "uncle" ... or doesn't.
McConnell has hoped for bipartisan support for taking on the White House and the EPA on coal and other issues, and he blasted Obama's climate deal with China last week in a statement.
"Our economy can't take the President's ideological War on Coal that will increase the squeeze on middle-class families and struggling miners. This unrealistic plan, that the President would dump on his successor, would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs. The President said his policies were on the ballot, and the American people spoke up against them. It's time for more listening, and less job-destroying red tape. Easing the burden already created by EPA regulations will continue to be a priority for me in the new Congress."McConnell has already said, however, that there would not be shutdowns on his watch, though that's being tested now by fury among conservatives over another promised executive action — over immigration.
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