GOP: Climate deal is ‘job-crushing’

GOP: Climate deal is ‘job-crushing’
© Greg Nash

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday lambasted President Obama’s climate deal with China, calling it the kind of policy move that voters rejected at the ballot box last week.

The surprise pact announced late Tuesday sets a new emissions-cutting goal for the United States while letting China’s pollution grow for 16 years.

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While liberals hailed the pact as a step forward in fighting climate change, Republicans called it a raw deal that will lead to more burdensome regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Coming a week after historic election losses for Democrats, Republicans said they were astonished Obama would commit the United States to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.

“This announcement is yet another sign that the president intends to double down on his job-crushing policies no matter how devastating the impact for America’s heartland and the country as a whole,” Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner says it's Democrats' turn for a Tea Party movement House Republicans find silver lining in minority Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history MORE (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner says it's Democrats' turn for a Tea Party movement House Republicans find silver lining in minority Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history MORE called Obama’s announcement late Tuesday of the deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping “the latest example of the president’s crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families.”

In his speech to open the lame-duck session of Congress, Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight House Oversight Dem wants Trump to release taxes and 'get it over with' Senate rejection of Green New Deal won't slow Americans' desire for climate action MORE (R-Ky.), due to become majority leader in January, called the deal an agreement “to essentially give China a free pass on emissions while hurting middle-class families and struggling miners here at home.”

McConnell had earlier called the deal unrealistic, a part of “the president’s ideological war on coal that will increase the squeeze on middle-class families and struggling miners.”

“The president said his policies were on the ballot, and the American people spoke up against them,” he said.

Obama framed the agreement as a run-up to a United Nations summit next year aimed at reaching a global agreement to fight climate change. As the two largest economies in the world, Obama and Xi said they hoped to put pressure on other major nations to come to the table with their own emissions limits.

Republicans argue the United States should stay away from any international climate obligations and have vowed to push back on the president’s climate agenda, when they assume control of Congress next year.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeThe Hill's Morning Report - Dems look to rebuild 'blue wall' Funding caps, border wall set stage for defense budget battle Trump's claims of defeating ISIS roil Congress MORE (R-Okla.), incoming chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said it’s pointless for Obama to make deals in advance of a climate treaty. He said previous attempts at a treaty, such as a 2009 U.N. meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, show the efforts are doomed to failure.

“This is something that isn’t going to happen, the same as it wasn’t going to happen in Copenhagen,” he said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Republicans didn’t specify how they might fight Obama’s agreement with Xi, but they reiterated their vow to dismantle EPA rules in the next Congress.

“We’re going to continue to work with the regulations that the EPA has come out with and trying to cut back what they’ve done there. We want to do that legislatively,” Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' This week: Trump set for Senate setback on emergency declaration We should end tax giveaways to electric vehicle owners MORE (R-Wyo.) said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“I can assure you that, with a Republican majority, we’re not going to be putting additional policies in place that make energy more expensive,” he said.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had a similar take.

“The House will continue to fight this administration’s cavalier approach of jamming through harmful regulations without regard to economic consequences,” he said in a statement.

Green groups and liberal Democrats, meanwhile, argued the China agreement undercut GOP arguments that the United States should not risk hobbling its economy against competitors like China and India that haven’t committed to emissions cuts.

“Now there is no longer an excuse for Congress to block action on climate change,” Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list Climate debate comes full circle MORE (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

“The biggest carbon polluter on our planet, China, has agreed to cut back on dangerous emissions, and now we should make sure all countries do their part because this is a threat to the people that we all represent.”

Republicans said they do not believe China would stick to its promises.

“China has promised to potentially, maybe, possibly start reducing emissions after 2030, but this is a nonbinding agreement, and there is little reason to believe China will blunt its economic ambitions and comply,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneCongress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy The fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (R-S.D.).