Sen. McConnell assails red-state Dems for joining 'war on coal'

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDems gain upper hand on budget Overnight Finance: Senate rejects funding bill as shutdown looms | Labor Dept. to probe Wells Fargo | Fed to ease stress test rules for small banks Overnight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule MORE (Ky.) on Thursday accused red-state Democrats of siding with President Obama and Democratic leadership in what he called a “war on coal.”

“Some of our friends on the other side want their constituents to think they’ll stand up against this elitist war on middle-class jobs. These senators want everyone to believe they’re opposed to the administration’s waves of job-killing energy regulations,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “But the truth is, it’s just the opposite.

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“These Democrat senators say they’re ready to stand and fight. But when push comes to shove, they’re nowhere to be found,” he added.

He slammed his targets for “dutifully doing the bidding” of Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems gain upper hand on budget Senate Dems: Don't leave for break without Supreme Court vote Moulitsas: The year of the woman MORE (D-Nev.).

McConnell said he has tried multiple times to offer legislation, such as the Coal Country Protection Act, to soften government regulations on the coal industry. That bill would limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s timeframe for approving or denying permit applications.

“But the Majority Leader blocks those efforts at every turn,” he said. “And none of the so-called ‘moderate’ Senate Democrats ever comes to the floor to assist me in my efforts. Every time, they choose to follow the party line instead — the party line of the majority leader they support.”

McConnell’s attack came a day after he criticized red-state Democrats including Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuLouisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator La. Senate contender books seven-figure ad buy Crowded field muddies polling in Louisiana Senate race MORE (D-La.) for not doing more to press Reid to schedule a vote on legislation to authorization of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

“When it comes right down to it, they haven’t even been able to secure a serious, gimmick-free floor vote from the majority leader to approve the Keystone pipeline,” he said Wednesday.

McConnell charged Reid with blocking a committee vote on the Energy and Water Appropriations bill because he feared centrist Democrats would side with Republicans and attach a pro-coal amendment McConnell wanted to offer to the bill.

He said Reid did the same think to circumvent Republicans from amending the Financial Services Appropriations bill.

“The Senate Democrat leadership apparently doesn’t want members of the Senate, even in committee, to have any real say in the contours of the president’s energy regulations — regulations that will affect millions of our constituents in profound ways,” McConnell said.