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Obama's Climate Plan Looks Past Congress

Timur Emek/Getty Images
Obama is expected to outline his strategy to combat global warming at Georgetown University on Tuesday.

Lawmakers in both parties have pushed “resolutions of disapproval” on previous EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gases, and any new regulations would likely come under similar fire. However, Congress must act within two months of a rule’s promulgation to prevent it from going into effect. And even if both chambers passed such a resolution, the president could veto it.

Still, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, pre-emptively slammed the idea of the president pushing new regulations as “crazy” last week, given the potential of increasing costs for consumers.

“The president’s plan is to make American energy more expensive,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. “That hurts families. It destroys jobs. And it’s the last thing we need right now.”

Senate Republicans aren’t receptive either. “I guess he got tired of the ‘pivot to jobs’ and wants to pivot to raising people’s energy bills and the unemployment rate,” said Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The president’s push is likely to complicate confirmation of Obama’s pick to head the EPA, Gina McCarthy, now the assistant director overseeing the agency’s clear air regulations. “There is no reason ... for her not to be confirmed,” Carney said.

In a June 22 video message, Obama said his plan would not only reduce greenhouse gas pollution but also prepare the country for the effects of climate change and establish working relationships with other countries to address the issue on a global scale.

He emphasized the economic potential of creating a clean-energy economy — a clear nod to critics who contend that regulating carbon from utilities will drive up energy costs and hamper economic recovery efforts.

“This is a serious challenge, but it’s one uniquely suited to America’s strengths,” Obama said. “We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them. We’ll need engineers to devise new sources of energy, and business to make and sell them.”

One thing he didn’t mention? Congress.

Lauren Gardner and Geof Koss contributed to this report.

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