The writing should be on the wall for this one, particularly since the Democrats have essentially lost coal country entirely, as Ed pointed out this weekend. Energy – and the millions of jobs associated with it – was featured on the campaign trail and proved a winning issue for Republicans. And now, as reported by The Hill, the new GOP majority in the Senate is gearing up to finally do more than just talk about it.
The GOP Senate plans to defund the EPA so the new rules can't be enforced, setting up a potential budget shutdown situation, and that Obama will fold under pressure from 2016 candidates.
Of course, any of these measures would have to get past the President’s veto pen, but if the White House takes too strong of a stand on that they could be springing a terrible trap for Democrats. With both houses of Congress unified, the President would be essentially standing alone as the person blocking a path to cutting costs for consumers and the creation of more jobs. This sets up the GOP for 2016 with a new and potentially more salable message. Traditionally we’ve seen political combatants arguing that “the next president” will be the person selecting Supreme Court justices. It’s an important debate to be sure, but a more direct line to the voters will be to clearly explain that “the next president” will be staffing up the EPA and other regulatory agencies, and do you really want four more years of these policies? Voters also need to be reminded that these changes are largely cosmetic, feel good measures which are not only hugely expensive, but have no effect on the far dirtier energy policies of countries with vastly larger populations who will continue to do what they’ve always done.
Here's my response about this. First, yes, red state voters do want Obama's EPA regulations.
When asked flat-out whether they supported EPA regulations limiting carbon pollution, 67 percent of total voters said yes, while 26 percent said no. In the red states, 64 percent of voters supported EPA regulations to combat climate change, as opposed to 29 percent that did not.
And that's after having Shaw's arguments explained to them.
Second, the great part about the 2014 midterm losses is that the losses happened to Blue Dog, Red State Democrats. Exactly who's left to complain in Coal Country? West Virginia's Joe Manchin is about it, and he's not going anywhere. He'll be a reliable vote for Senate action on the EPA for the GOP anyway.
And finally, tell me again how the Obama EPA regulations are costing jobs when President Obama has added millions since 2009. And we can't take action because China or Inida won't? What happened to "American exceptionalism"?
That leaves defunding the EPA as part of a larger GOP plan to shut down the government. By all means, play that card again heading into 2016.