The Environmental Protection Agency’s new rule on carbon pollution is the latest headache for Democrats trying to defend a fragile Senate majority.

Republicans seized on the Obama administration’s call for power plants to cut their carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030 as an opportunity to attack Democrats from energy-producing states — some of the party’s most vulnerable — for what they characterized as the party’s job-killing energy policies and overreach from the president.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a robocall campaign hitting Democratic Sens. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuProject Veritas at risk of losing fundraising license in New York, AG warns You want to recall John McCain? Good luck, it will be impossible CNN producer on new O'Keefe video: Voters are 'stupid,' Trump is 'crazy' MORE (La.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Comey back in the spotlight after Flynn makes a deal Warner: Every week another shoe drops in Russia investigation MORE (Va.), Mark UdallMark UdallDemocratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' MORE (Colo.) and Mark BegichMark Peter BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (Alaska) on the new rule.

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Even Republican candidates in states where the proposal is likely to have minimal impact, like Michigan, went on the attack. There, Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land knocked the proposal as an “enormous regulatory attack on coal,” and called on Rep. Gary Peters, the Democratic nominee for Senate, to oppose it.

But Democrats are doing their best to turn the issue into an asset. Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes lambasted the proposal and launched an advertising campaign declaring her opposition to Obama’s policies on coal.

Vulnerable Rep. Nick RahallNick RahallLikely W.Va. Senate GOP rivals spar in radio appearances West Virginia is no longer Clinton country Solution needed: Rail congestion is stifling economic growth MORE (D-W.Va.) has been speaking out against the rule for weeks, and on Monday announced plans to introduce legislation to block its implementation.

And green groups, a key Democratic constituency and one that could have a pivotal role in this fall’s elections, were elated. League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski lauded the new rule as “the biggest step we’ve ever taken for the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced.”

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN 

DEM SUPER-PAC LAUNCHING NEW ATTACKS: The Senate Majority PAC is out with new ads attacking GOP candidates in ArkansasColoradoMichiganNorth Carolina and New Hampshire.

TEA PARTY DEFENDS THE KOCHS: Tea Party Patriots has filed a complaint against Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (D-Nev.) with the Senate Ethics Committee to protest his repeated attacks against Charles and David Koch.

NRSC HITS DEMS ON EPA RULE: The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is launching a robocall campaign tying Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Warner (Va.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Mark Begich (Alaska) to Monday’s proposed carbon emissions limits for power plants.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is hitting President Obama on coal with a six-figure, multimedia campaign that launched this week with ads placed in newspapers in the state’s top coal-producing regions.

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): State Sen. Chris McDaniel picked up a last-minute endorsement from the Family Research Council’s political action committee this weekend in his primary challenge to Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranObstruction of justice watch: Trump attacks the FBI America isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill MORE (R-Miss.). Meanwhile, a murky group placed an ad in an African-American weekly newspaper that pitches Democratic voters on jumping in the GOP primary to vote for Cochran.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRyan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Richard Gere welcomes lawmakers' words of support for Tibet Dem lawmaker gives McConnell's tax reform op-ed a failing grade MORE (R-Fla.) is in Iowa this evening to stump with with Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R), the latest big-name Republican to help her campaign ahead of tomorrow’s primary.

Ernst has a big primary lead in recent polling.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): The Boston Globe has a new report outlining Republican Scott Brown’s murky income sources since leaving the Senate in 2013, highlighting in particular his lucrative ties to an apparent firearms manufacturer that hasn’t sold or made any guns and experts say could raise red flags with its business practices.

OK-SEN (OPEN): A group backing Rep. James Lankford in the Oklahoma Senate primary released a new poll, conducted by Randall Gutermuth for the Foundation for Economic Prosperity, that shows Lankford up over former state Speaker T.W. Shannon by 22 points, with 48 percent support among likely GOP primary voters to 26 percent for Shannon. Both are seen positively by about two-thirds of respondents.

AR-SEN (PRYOR): Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) stumped with Sen. Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) over the weekend, slamming Rep. Tom CottonTom CottonGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Grassley offers DACA fix tied to tough enforcement measures Five things senators should ask Tom Cotton if he’s nominated to lead the CIA MORE’s (R-Ark.) vote against federal disaster relief funding.



BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

FLOTUS SAYS HOUSE FLIP 'DOABLE': First lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama on social media: You’ve got to ‘think before you tweet’ MSNBC trolls Trump with video montage of Obama saying ‘Merry Christmas’ Overnight Regulation: USDA delays healthy school lunch requirements | Senate panel advances controversial environmental pick | Drone industry pushes to ease rules | Dem commish joins energy regulator MORE headlined a Massachusetts fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and expressed optimism at the party’s chances of picking up the 17 seats it needs to take back the House. "That's a doable number," she said, if Democrats turn out this fall.

The DCCC on Monday launched Web ads accusing House Republicans of voting to keep taxpayer-funded lifetime healthcare for themselves. 

SCOTUS TO HEAR ALABAMA MAP CHALLENGE: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a pair of challenges to Alabama’s legislative map from groups who accuse the state’s GOP-dominated legislature of racial gerrymandering.

CA-17 (HONDA): A union-backed PAC has been sending mailers attacking Democrat Ro Khanna and boosting Republican Vanila Singh (R) on the long-shot chance they can push her above him and help Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) in the general election.

MI-3 (AMASH): Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashGOP leaders agree to consider Dec. 30 spending bill House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Overnight Finance: House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama | GOP leaders to consider Dec. 30 spending bill | Justices skeptical of ban on sports betting | Mulvaney won't fire official who sued him MORE (R-Mich.) leads primary challenger Brian Ellis (R) by 42 percent to 23 percent in a new poll conducted by MIRS.

NY-1 (BISHOP): American Action Network is launching television and cable ads tying businessman George Demos, battling state Sen. Lee Zeldin for the GOP nod in New York’s 1st District, to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The two are vying for the chance to take on vulnerable Democratic Rep. Tim BishopTimothy (Tim) Howard BishopDems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary Flint residents hire first K Street firm House moves to vote on .1T package; backup plan in place MORE.

NY-13 (RANGEL): House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed incumbent Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Monday as he fights to hold his seat against a primary challenger.



2016 WATCH

CLINTON: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE visited a Denver plastics factory on Monday, prior to a planned speech in the state that night, to chat with representatives from local small businesses and Denver public schools about training and recruitment programs for workers. Later this month, on June 10, she'll begin a nationwide book tour at a Barnes & Noble in New York City. She’s planning stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Canada and Texas.

CAIN: Businessman Herman Cain, who dropped his 2012 presidential bid amid scandal surrounding his multiple affairs, left the door open this weekend to another run. “I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future,” he said, "and I trust in God.”

PAUL: Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLexington mayor launches bid for Congress Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics Meet the Iran hawk who could be Trump's next secretary of State MORE (R-Ky.) is heading to Texas to keynote the state’s Republican Party Convention, the latest state convention the 2016 prospect has headlined.


QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“The president’s plan is nuts. There’s really no more succinct way to describe it.”

 Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on President Obama’s new carbon regulations