Senate Dems cancel spending bill vote amid GOP threat on EPA rules

Senate Democrats canceled a scheduled Thursday Appropriations Committee markup that could have opened the door to an amendment to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest climate rules.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was planning to introduce an amendment to the funding bill for the Energy Department and water programs that would prohibit the Obama administration from finalizing the proposed carbon emissions limits for power plants, The Associated Press reported.

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The EPA expects the rules to reduce the demand for coal. The amendment was part of an effort against what Republicans are calling Obama’s “war on coal.”

Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) decided to cancel the scheduled vote Wednesday night.

The committee includes red-state Democrats facing tough reelection fights this year, such as Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Begich (Alaska). AP said McConnell’s amendment “appeared on track to prevail.”