Senate tees up votes against Obama’s climate rules

Senate tees up votes against Obama’s climate rules
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The Senate will vote as early as this week to block President Obama’s climate change rules for power plants.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.) announced Monday that the resolutions, one of which he sponsors, were placed on the Senate floor calendar, lining up a vote soon.

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The resolutions are written under the Congressional Review Act, a rarely-used law that gives Congress a streamlined process for blocking regulations.

The legislation only requires a simple majority vote, which would fulfill one of McConnell’s top priorities and promised to his constituents: to block the rules, which are due to hit the coal industry especially hard.

“These regulations make it clearer than ever that the president and his administration have gone too far, and that Congress should act to stop this regulatory assault,” McConnell said in a statement.

“Here’s what is lost in this administration’s crusade for ideological purity: the livelihoods of our coal miners and their families. Folks who haven’t done anything to deserve a ‘war’ being declared upon them.”

The regulations were made final in August by the Environmental Protection Agency, and are the main pillar of Obama’s second-term push against climate change.

The most contentious rule, the Clean Power Plan, mandates a 32 percent cut in the carbon dioxide output of the existing power plant sector. The second rule, which has a different resolution in the Senate, sets hard limits for the carbon output of new coal- and gas-fired power plants.

‘The administration bypassed Congress entirely when it developed this rule, and these resolutions of disapproval will give senators an opportunity to approve or disapprove of these far-reaching regulations,” Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE (R-W.Va.), who sponsored the resolution for the existing-plant rule, said in a statement.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) is also sponsoring Capito’s legislation, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is sponsoring McConnell’s.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is planning this week to vote on the House versions of both resolutions.

Obama would need to sign the resolutions for them to take effect, which he has made clear he would not do.

States and energy industry interests have sued the Obama administration in federal court to stop both regulations.