Republican senators push Obama to repeal EPA proposal

Forty-one Republican senators sent a letter to President Obama Wednesday urging him to withdraw the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulations to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

The senators said the rules would increase electricity costs, reduce consumers’ disposable income and result in job cuts.

“This proposed rule continues your administration’s effort to ensure that American families and businesses will pay more for electricity, an important goal emphasized during your initial campaign for president, and suffer reduced reliability as well,” the senators wrote.

The Hill first reported the letter Tuesday, when senators were distributing a draft of it and only 28 had signed it. Wednesday’s letter was identical to Tuesday’s draft, except for an additional 13 signatures.

Sen. David Vitter (La.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) led the letter-writing effort. The signers included John Barrasso (Wyo.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and John Hoeven (N.D.).

In addition to the cost concerns, the senators said the EPA’s proposal runs afoul of the Clean Air Act and its limits on executive power.

It also includes elements of a cap-and-trade system, but Congress has rejected bills to institute cap-and-trade multiple times before, they said. The EPA’s rules do not actually include cap-and-trade, but they would allow states to use it to comply with their emissions-reduction targets.

“At a time when manufacturers are moving production from overseas to the U.S. and investing billions of dollars in the process, we are very concerned that an administration with a poor management record decided to embark on a plan that will result in energy rationing,” they said.

The senators sent the letter the same day McConnell tried to pass a bill that to block the EPA’s rules. McConnell tried to pass the bill by unanimous consent, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blocked the move.

Every Republican senator signed the letter except John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.).