Barrasso: GOP plans to corner Obama on energy, climate

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOvernight Defense: GOP wary of action on Iran | Pence says US 'locked and loaded' to defend allies | Iran's leader rules out talks with US GOP senator: Iran is behind attack on Saudi Arabia House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge MORE (Wyo.) says the new GOP majority plans to force President Obama to make decisions on a number of energy and climate change issues when it takes control next year.

Barrasso, a top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said during an interview with Platts Energy Week that Keystone XL will definitely be one of the first things tackled by the GOP.

“We will be able to do it much more easily with a Republican controlled Senate because there are Democrats that want to proceed,” Barrasso said on passing a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

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When asked if Republicans could find a way to work with the president on climate change, and natural gas exports, Barrasso wouldn’t say.

Instead, he said he thinks the Senate and House will be able to pass bipartisan legislation on those policy issues.

“The president continues to make end runs around the American people,” Barrasso said of Obama’s climate agenda. “We want to make sure that the [Environmental Protection Agency] doesn’t have the funds to try to proceed with some the things they want to do with their regulations.”

When pressed on the possibility of working with the administration to get legislation on natural gas exports passed, Barrasso again remained confident a bill would pass both chambers but gave no indication he’d work with the president to sweeten the deal.

“I do expect it to pass,” Barrasso said, “And we will put them on the president’s desk and he will have to make a decision.”

Asked if there were any areas the administration and Republicans could work on together, Barrasso again pointed to Congress instead.

“I see significant opportunities in the House and Senate to work on bipartisan legislation. There are things that we can do and put them on the president’s desk and the president is going to ultimately have to decide,” Barrasso said.  

"If he continues to be held hostage by environmental extremists then he will veto those legislations and the American people will see what the president’s decisions are in terms of their lives and their livelihoods,” he added.

The GOP has signaled that it plans to attack the administration’s energy and environmental policies but the president is expected to veto any bills that seek to dismantle his regulations on carbon pollution, which are a key pillar of his legacy.

While Barrasso didn’t say he wants to work with the administration on his bill that would expedite natural gas exports, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) is working on similar legislation that he is trying to get endorsed by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.