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Senate moves toward vote against Obama’s climate rule

Senate moves toward vote against Obama’s climate rule
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The Senate moved closer Tuesday to voting to overturn President Obama’s signature emissions rules for power plants.

By a voice vote, senators formally agreed to start debate on a measure to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon reduction rules for the power sector, lining up a vote for as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

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The resolution, written under the Congressional Review Act, needs only a simple majority vote, so it will likely pass. It will fulfill a key promise and priority of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Trump blasts Obama speech for Biden as 'fake' after Obama hits Trump's tax payments White House hoping for COVID-19 relief deal 'within weeks': spokeswoman MORE (R-Ky.), who wants to protect Kentucky’s coal industry from the rules, which would hurt coal-fired power plants.

But Obama is nearly certain to veto it.

“The Obama administration is trying to impose deeply regressive energy regulations that would eliminate good-paying jobs, punish the poor and make it even harder for Kentuckians to put food on the table,” McConnell said on the Senate floor before the procedural vote, adding that the rules would have little effect on global warming but devastate poor and middle-class families.

“And yet the deep-pocketed left-wingers who increasingly call the shots in the Obama White House don’t seem to care,” he said. “Just like with its decision on Keystone last month, the Obama administration is putting facts and compassion to the side in order to advance their ideological agenda.”

The Senate this week could also vote on a measure to block the related EPA rule setting carbon output limits for newly constructed coal-fired power plants.

Four Senate Democrats who have become leaders in the climate fight held a news conference Tuesday blasting Republicans for the vote.

“The Republican leadership, aligned with the coal industry and the fossil fuel industry, is clearly committed to a business as usual course of action, which is going to lead to dramatic increases in the amount of greenhouse gases that will go up into the atmosphere,” said Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court FCC reaffirms order rolling back net neutrality regulations Markey rips GOP for support of Amy Coney Barrett: Originalism 'just a fancy word for discrimination' MORE (D-Mass.).

“This is an historic debate,” he said. “It basically boils down to whether or not in the 21st century the United States is going to be leader in the clean energy revolution … or we are still going to be tied to 19th-century technologies like coal.”

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Coordinated federal leadership is needed for recovery of US travel and tourism MORE (D-Hawaii) said the legislation “has zero chance of being enacted into law.” He and his colleagues accused McConnell of wasting valuable Senate floor time on the measures, ignoring more pressing concerns like homeland security funding.