GOP to Obama: Take your ‘golf cap off’ and visit coal country

Republicans slammed President Obama over regulations targeting carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants on Tuesday, telling him to take "his golf cap off and get his hard hat on."

A press conference led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyThe fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change IRS watchdog urges agency to provide more underpayment penalty relief Congress needs to unite and pass this key infrastructure legislation MORE (R-Pa.) featured former coal miner and "America's Got Talent" contestant Jimmy Rose, who sang his song "Coal Keeps the Lights On."

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Republicans held the event in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rules, which mandate that the nation's fleet of existing power plants cut carbon dioxide 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The GOP has rallied in opposition to the rules this week as the EPA launches the second phase of its engagement plan and invites public comments.

To bulk up support, the administration started a major public relations push this week to strengthen the president's hand just as the battle over the regulations reached fever pitch.

On Wednesday, Republicans struck back and pressed Obama to visit coal country to see the effect those regulations would have.

"I want him to get off the back nine and come into the mines," Kelly said. "I want him to get his golf cap off and get his hard hat on. I want him to walk the streets and I want him to look in face of moms and dads that rely every day on this precious product."

"This is coal's day in court," Kelly added.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records Transparency advocate says government agencies face 'use it or lose it' spending Republicans need solutions on environment too MORE (R-Ky.), a possible 2016 presidential contender, joined the rally in front of the Capitol, along with Republican Senate candidate Rep. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Hillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records JOBS for Success Act would recognize that all people have potential MORE (Mont.) and a handful of other GOP congressional members.

Rep. Nick RahallNick Joe RahallWe shouldn't allow politics to impede disaster relief Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Clinton mulls role in 2018 midterms MORE, who is facing a tough reelection battle in coal-centric West Virginia, was the only Democrat to join Republicans on Wednesday.

Rahall stressed the devastation he says the rules would have on coal companies and the thousands of jobs that would be lost.

For its part, the EPA says the new standards give states as much flexibility as possible to design a plan to meet the reduction targets.

EPA chief Gina McCarthy has said that if a state wants to invest in its coal plants to make them cleaner and help meet the goal, then the plan enables them to do so.

While the EPA's public hearings are set to wrap up on Friday in Pittsburgh, people will have until Oct. 16 to file comments on the rules via email, fax or letter.