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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Senate Dems Block Bill To Save Coal Jobs | Obama Admin Readies Onerous New Regulations

Today in Washington, D.C. - Sept. 19, 2013
The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM. Following an hour of morning business, the Senate resumed consideration of S. 1392, an energy efficiency bill. If an agreement can be reached, votes are possible on amendments to S. 1392.

The House reconvened at 10 AM. The House will consider the following bill today:
H.R. 3102 — "To amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008; and for other purposes."

Tomorrow. The House is expected to take up and vote on the funding the government under a Continuing Resolution which includes defunding Obamacare.

Yesterday the House Passed:
H.R. 301 (402-22) — "To provide for the establishment of the Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia."
H.R. 761 (246-178) — "To require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of the minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to United States economic and national security and manufacturing competitiveness." Amendments to this bill were dispensed with as follows:
Pearce (R-NM) Amendment No. 5 (Passed Voice Vote) - Clarifies the intention of the bill that it will not impact Secretarial Order 3324, as it relates to oil/gas and potash.
Lowenthal (D-CA) Amendment No. 1 (Rejected 187-241) - Clarifies that the definition of "Strategic and Critical Minerals" only includes the minerals identified by the National Research Council (NRC) as strategic and critical minerals (and any additional minerals added by the Secretary that meet the NRC's criteria). Also clarifies that the definition of "Mineral Exploration or Mine Permit" in this underlying legislation only refers to mineral exploration or mine permit for strategic and critical minerals.
Veasey (D-TX) Amendment No. 2 (Rejected 189-237) - Designates the Secretary of Interior to publish no later than 60 days after enactment of the bill a list of "Strategic and Critical Minerals" for the purpose of the bill. The Secretary must update the list every 5 years.
Connolly (D-VA) Amendment No. 3 (Rejected 186-240) - Requires mineral exploration and mining projects to be subjected to an Environmental Impact Statement review prior to approval and removes the arbitrary limit on the time frame for such reviews.
Hastings, Alcee (D-FL) Amendment No. 4 (Rejected 191-235) - Requires that the cost of cleanup be included in financial assurance and that financial insurance instruments shall be in the form of a surety bond, letter of credit or other instrument that would routinely be accepted in commerce.

At his weekly press briefing today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the House will pass a plan tomorrow that protects all Americans from the president’s health care law, moving the battle to defund ObamaCare to the Senate “where it belongs.”  Boehner also took President Obama to task for negotiating with Russia, while refusing to work with Republicans on debt limit legislation that addresses the massive debt and deficits that threaten the economy.  As Boehner noted, “every major deficit reduction plan over the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit,” and this time should be no different.

Following are Boehner’s remarks:
On Upcoming House Vote to Defund ObamaCare, Move Fight to the Senate:
“Tomorrow we’ll pass a plan to protect the American people from the president’s health care law, while keeping the rest of government up and running.  When it comes to the health care law, the debate in the House has been settled.  I think our position is very clear: The law is a train wreck, and it’s going to raise costs, it’s destroying American jobs - and it must go. We’ll deliver a big victory in the House tomorrow.  Then this fight will move over to the Senate – where it belongs.  I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle.”

On the Long History of Common-Sense Legislation Coupling Spending Cuts & Reforms with the Debt Limit:
“And while that fight plays out, we engage in another set of challenges: the debt limit and – more importantly – the debt itself.  Let me be very clear: Republicans have no interest in defaulting on our debt.  None.  We just want to find a way to pay it off.  That’s why the House will act on a plan that will reduce the deficit and includes pro-growth economic reforms – including a delay of the president’s health care law.

“There’s a common-sense principle here: If you’re going to raise the debt ceiling, you should work to reduce the deficit and grow the economy at the same time – the president’s remarks notwithstanding.  You know, the White House may not get it, but frankly, the American people get it.

“Every major deficit reduction plan over the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit.  In 1985, President Reagan signed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction bill, which included an increase in the debt limit.  When President Bush reached a budget deal with Democrats here in the Congress in 1990, it included an increase in the debt limit.  President Clinton reached two similar agreements, both tied to the debt limit.  And I would remind President Obama himself that in the summer of 2011 there was a major deficit reduction bill enacted with an increase in the debt limit.   “This time should be no different. In fact, I think it’s more important than ever.”

On the President Negotiating with Putin, While Refusing to Work with Congress to Address Debt & Deficits:
“A report this week from the Congressional Budget Office makes it clear that our debt is set to grow rapidly in the coming years if we take no action.  That’s why it’s so troubling that the president’s decided to just sit out this debate. He says he won’t engage.

“You know, most presidents refer to their bipartisan efforts to reduce the deficit as ‘achievements.’  The president sees this as ‘extortion.’

“So, while the president is happy to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, he won’t engage with the Congress on a plan that deals with the deficits that threaten our economy.  Let me just be clear here: a debt limit increase without any reforms to lower our deficit just isn’t going to cut it.  Not when, under this president, the United States has racked up six trillion worth of additional debt.  You can see it right here.  When the president took office look what’s happened over these years and look what happens out into the future if we don’t do something about our spending problem.  So a bill that does nothing to deal with the deficit is really telling the world that we’re not willing to deal with our spending problem.

“The president needs to recognize that we’ve got a shared responsibility to govern.  He can try to stay on the sidelines.  But, here in the House, we’re going to lead.”

The Hill reports, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tried to pass legislation Thursday that would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing carbon pollution standards for power plants. McConnell asked for unanimous consent to pass S. 1514, the Saving Coal Jobs Act, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) objected. . . . This summer, President Obama announced that he would direct the EPA to craft carbon emissions standards for new and existing power plants within the United States. Republicans immediately decried the plan as ‘Obama’s war on coal.’ The EPA is slated to propose draft rules for future plants this week, while draft carbon rules for existing plants are scheduled to be proposed by next June.”

To combat the EPA’s assault on coal jobs and power, Leader McConnell has introduced the Saving Coal Jobs Act. His jobs bill would streamline the mine permitting process for new coal mines by putting the EPA on the clock and approving 404 and 402 permit applications that sit idle, or those that are neither denied nor granted, after a given period of time. It also blocks additional carbon emission standards for new and existing power plants set forth by the EPA. The legislation requires that any such regulations would need to be approved by Congress.

Before Reid blocked his move to pass the bill, Leader McConnell explained the need for it: “The EPA is due this week to announce regulations capping carbon emissions on new coal-fired power plants.   It’s just the latest Administration salvo in its never ending War on Coal; a War against the very people who provide power and energy for our country.  The EPA has already stifled the permitting process for new coal mines; the agency has done this so dramatically that they have effectively shut down many coal mines through illegitimate, dilatory tactics. . . . In the year President Obama took office there were over 18,600 employed in the coal industry in my state.  But as of September 2013, the number of persons employed at Kentucky coal mines is only 13,000. And the picture is getting worse instead of better.  This week, a major employer announced 525 layoffs in its eastern Kentucky mines.  This news ironically came on the same day the President announced that his proposals are, according to him anyway, helping to strengthen the economy.  Try and tell that to the hard-working coal miners in eastern Kentucky who are now trying to figure out how to feed their families and pay their bills.”

Obama administration officials aren’t even trying to deny that their regulations are hurting coal country and energy producers. According to Politico
, “EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy defended the Obama administration’s climate plan Wednesday as a necessary force to shift to a lower-carbon energy future — but didn’t dispute lawmakers’ suggestions that it will place new burdens on coal. McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz declined to offer details about the proposed greenhouse gas standards for future power plants that EPA is scheduled to release this week. But the pair did nothing during Wednesday’s House climate hearing to counter the widespread expectation that the rule will require future coal-fired power plants to capture some amount of their carbon dioxide emissions.”

Meanwhile, National Journal notes, “Coal-country Democrats aren't eager to talk about the Environmental Protection Agency's new emission regulations for power plants expected to be released later this week, which could put them in a tough position between the pressures of regional politics and party loyalty. The new limits are expected to effectively require carbon capture—a still-developing technology—for all new coal-fired plants in order to meet emission standards. That has drawn backlash from many in the coal industry, but most Democrats from coal-heavy regions have largely been hesitant to speak out. . . . [T]he coal industry, producers of a relatively cheap and abundant energy source, would be hit hard by the EPA rules, as higher operating costs for power plants lead utilities to switch to lower-cost and lower-emitting natural gas. Only one of the seven Democratic members of the Congressional Coal Caucus would comment on the regulations; several said they were withholding their reactions until the policy is official.”

As for Leader McConnell, he said this morning, “Kentucky coal miners have suffered far too much already.  Congress cannot sit idly by and let the EPA unilaterally destroy a vital source of energy and a vital source of employment. . . . The time to act on the Saving Coal Jobs Act is now.”

Unfortunately, Majority Leader Harry Reid’s objection has slowed the process, allowing the Obama administration to do further damage to coal jobs and affordable energy in the meantime.

Tags: Saving Coal Jobs Act, coal industry, Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:35 AM - Post Link


Anonymous Kevin Pritchett said...

Obama and the Dems MUST GO!!


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