Reid slams SCOTUS decision on power plant rules
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrump presses GOP to change Senate rules Only thing Defense’s UFO probe proves is power of political favors Nevada Democrat accused of sexual harassment reconsiders retirement: report MORE (D-Nev.) slammed the Supreme Court's decision to temporarily block President Obama's landmark climate rules for power plants.

"I was disappointed last night," the Democratic leader said. "This was an especially stunning move by the Supreme Court given just weeks ago the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals categorically rejected a halt of the Clean Power Plan."

His remarks come after the Supreme Court announced Tuesday night that in a 5-4 decision it was placing a stay on the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants while industry and state lawsuits move forward.

While Reid said the announcement is a "short-sighted decision by the court's five conservative justices" and an "unfortunate setback," he echoed the White House, saying that he is "confident" that the Obama administration's rules will eventually be upheld in court.

The Supreme Court's decision, however, likely means the president will leave office with the fate of a key pillar of his climate policy undecided.

Senate Republicans quickly pounced on the announcement, suggesting that it underscores their belief that the Obama administration's rules were a regulatory overstep.

"[Obama] can't stop the Supreme Court from making the right-decision, as we hope it ultimately will," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone MORE (R-Ky.) said, adding that he believes the regulations are "likely illegal."

Reid, however, suggested that Congress must pass climate change legisation, which faced an uphill battle even when Democrats controlled the Senate.

"Climate-denying Republicans in the House and Senate might applaud this decision, but their refusal to protect Americans from the impacts of climate change is the real loss for our country," he said.