House GOP Plots Sneak Attack On Obama’s Climate Change Regs

CORRECTS TO REPLACE 3RD SENTENCE WITH INFO RELATED TO POWER PLANT SHOWN - FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2011 file photo shows the main plant facility at the Navajo Generating Station, from Lake Powell, in Page, Ariz. The ... CORRECTS TO REPLACE 3RD SENTENCE WITH INFO RELATED TO POWER PLANT SHOWN - FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2011 file photo shows the main plant facility at the Navajo Generating Station, from Lake Powell, in Page, Ariz. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is slated to release rules aimed at reducing mercury pollution from large coal-fired power plants. The operator of Navajo Generating Station said the 2,250-megawatt plant will run as long as the owners are convinced there isn't a better alternative. But spokesman Scott Harelson said the plant is facing some challenges, the most pressing of which are EPA regulations, and negotiating coal supply agreements and a site lease — "any of which could put the plant at risk of closure." (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Fle) MORE LESS
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Senior House Republicans are considering using a must-pass government funding bill to block President Barack Obama’s new rule to limit greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water, told Bloomberg News the funding ban “will be” in the interior panel’s government funding legislation.

He isn’t the only influential Republican who’s interested in inserting a provision in appropriations legislation to prohibit implementation of the regulation unveiled this month by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), who chairs the subcommittee on interior-environment, said Republicans will “take a serious look at” barring funds for the EPA rule, according to Bloomberg. He said the inclusion of such a provision wouldn’t surprise him because “[t]here’s great interest from a lot of members.”

Congress has three and a half months before funding expires. Republicans could theoretically shift strategy and remove the provision before final passage on the House floor. Or they could pass it and spark a battle with Senate Democrats and the White House with the prospect of another government shutdown looming when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

The coal regulation has become an animating force for Republicans on the 2014 campaign trail. GOP leaders claim the rule will hurt the economy (particularly in coal states like Kentucky); they paint it as executive overreach by the president; they insist it reveals Obama to be in thrall to environmentalists. Although the regulation of coal-fired power plants is popular nationally, these are irresistible attacks for the GOP in the November elections, particularly in fossil-fuel states that could determine the balance of power in the Senate.

The problem is such a standoff could wind up damaging the GOP at the wrong moment.

“I can’t imagine them shutting down the government one month before midterm elections,” said a Democratic congressional aide.

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Notable Replies

  1. Coal faces a double whammy. First, the coal extraction industry has to capture its local political agencies and politicians, as well as try to keep the discourse focused on jobs and economic benefits. Second, the coal-burners have to do the same thing, including convincing people of the existence of “clean coal” (which runs on phlogiston, perhaps), as well as the need for cheap electricity and all that. The amount of hogwash one has to take in has simply become overwhelming for most. Eliminating all coal-burning globally would solve over half of the global warming problem right out of the gate (as long as we don’t start burning something else.) In a reversal of roles with our Neanderthal ancestors, mankind is now on a Quest for an Alternative to Fire.

  2. "I can't imagine them shutting down the government one month before midterm elections," said a Democratic congressional aide.

    You don’t have much of an imagination, do you?

  3. I double-dog dare these Pukes to force a second gov’t shutdown a month before the midterms over a legislative maneuver, or poison pill, when the President’s actions are overwhelmingly popular with the public in curbing greenhouse gases as a whole. That should go over swimmingly. Seems to me the President has the upper-hand if he refuses to sign that legislation.

    A forced gov’t shutdown would only cement the negative association with Republicans unable to pass legislation in the country when necessary. It would clearly foreshadow what these Pukes are more than willing to do should they get both houses of Congress.

    The President wouldn’t sign it if they put a poison pill in the legislation over Obamacare. So I hope he stays vigilant and shows his resolve on this issue as well. This should be an example of just how far the Republicans would let the country fail by continuing to obstruct even the most basic legislation to fund the government.

    Eggrollian said “(as long as we don’t start burning something else)” and that’s just what these Republicans are planning to do here in Michigan by using the legislative process…Get a load of this entry at DailyKos:

    That’s exactly what these Pukes in the States are going out of their way to do with the help of ALEC, especially here in Michigan where even burning petcoke and plastic now is considered a renewable energy by them. Totally insane. Wherever legislatures and Governorships are kept red with Republicans, expect to see more and more of this type of legislation at the State level.

  4. This perfectly captures why Democrats are so constantly on the defensive when dealing with the GOP. They assume that Republicans are like them, and won’t do crazy things. Frankly, I think it’s a problem with liberals in general—their assumptions about how the world works is predicated on the notion that the rest of the world is like them.

    As should be blindingly obvious to anybody not living in a bubble of self-delusion, the world is chock-full of sociopathic assholes, and the main task is to make sure they have as little power as possible.

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