Senate GOP to fight on Keystone, climate rules, McConnell says

Republicans will use their new Senate majority to fight for the Keystone XL pipeline, an energy bill and roll back climate rules, Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell shoots down Manchin's voting compromise Environmental groups urge congressional leaders to leave climate provisions in infrastructure package Loeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run MORE said.

McConnell, who plans to become majority leader in January, identified energy issues as some top priorities for the Senate.


He said President Obama has “no interest … in doing anything serious on the energy front. We haven’t had an energy bill in seven years.”

Forcing approval of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline will be part of that push, as will encouraging domestic energy production. In addition to a Republican majority, supporters of Keystone XL reached a filibuster-proof majority of votes in the election.

“We need to embrace the energy revolution that’s going on in our country and promote it,” McConnell said in a speech in Kentucky Wednesday. “It’s hugely advantageous, not only in the area of energy independence, but employment.”

A major energy bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) enjoyed bipartisan support, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to allow a floor vote on it earlier this year amid Republican threats to add amendments that he did not want.

McConnell promised to use spending bills to implement GOP policies, since a veto from Obama would shut the government down. He said he wanted to fight an “overactive bureaucracy” through spending bills.

“We have a huge example of that here in this state with the war on coal, not authorized by Congress,” McConnell said.

He accused Obama of trying to implement cap-and-trade for carbon emissions with his climate rule for power plants, despite the failure of such a bill in Congress when Democrats controlled both chambers.

“I think there’s widespread opposition to that,” McConnell said.