By Alexander Bolton - 06/26/14 10:57 AM EDT
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (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.
He slammed his targets for “dutifully doing the bidding” of Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (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 Landrieu (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.