By Laura Barron-Lopez - 04/01/14 01:11 PM EDT
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to attach an amendment blocking carbon emissions rules for coal-fired power plants to the unemployment bill before the Senate.
It is unlikely the amendment will be considered since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has indicated there is no room for votes on additional measures to the bill, which would restore expired federal jobless benefits.
“Remember: this administration’s anti-Kentucky policies have helped bring about a depression — depression with a capital D — in many Kentucky coal counties. It’s about time they started having a little compassion for the coal families who just want to put food on the table. And that’s just what my amendment aims to force them to do," McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
The amendment seeks to block the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) carbon standards for new and existing power plants, mandating any such regulations would need to be approved by Congress.
Even if the amendment doesn't get a vote, it reflects the lengths to which Republicans will go this year to stop major pillars of Obama's second-term climate change legacy.
The amendment would also fast track the EPA's mine permitting process for new coal mines. It puts the agency on the clock when approving permit applications.
"My legislation would keep unelected bureaucrats from blocking desperately needed jobs in Kentucky by sitting on surface mining permits,” McConnell said.
A vote of final passage on unemployment benefits may be held as early as Wednesday.