Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Fox's Wallace says 'well-connected' Republican told him there's a 20 percent chance GOP will vote for impeachment White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE (R-Ky.) said President Obama’s proposed power plant emissions regulation is an attempt to make “privileged elitists” feel like something is being done to fight climate change.

“The point of this whole exercise is sadly obvious: it’s not really about science or global warming at all. It’s about making privileged elitists — elitists who may not feel the pinch of a higher utility bill or the pain of a lost job — feel like they ‘did something,’ ” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday.


On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a new rule that would force power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent over 15 years.

McConnell said the regulation was Obama’s latest blow in his “war on coal jobs.”

“I’m going to keep vigorously fighting against the Obama administration’s continued war on coal jobs and this extreme, anti-middle class national energy tax in particular,” McConnell said. 

He said he’s introducing a bill that would require the administration to meet benchmarks before the rule could take place, including ensuring no jobs would be lost or that energy costs would increase.

"I’m introducing legislation, the Coal Country Protection Act, that would push back against the president’s extreme anti-coal scheme," McConnell said. "It would require that simple but important benchmarks be met before his rules could take effect."

McConnell has said the regulation would harm his state’s economy and result in job losses at coal power plants across the country. He said it wouldn’t even positively affect the environment because India and China continue to produce more pollutants.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats dig in ahead of Supreme Court ruling on 'Dreamers' Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' Trump judicial nominee delayed amid GOP pushback MORE (D-Ill.) countered that the United States must lead in order to convince those other countries to also reduce emissions.