GOP sees looming 2012 elections as key to blocking climate rules

February 1, 2011

By Andrew Restuccia -The Hill

Republicans are banking on the looming 2012 election to provide a political boost for their efforts to undercut the Environmental Protection Agency’s pending climate change rules this year.

While a bill blocking EPA’s climate authority is likely to pass the House, the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Democrat-controlled Senate, as well as a potential veto from President Obama.

Still, Republicans are planning to push forward with the legislation, hoping the threat of the 2012 elections will yield support from vulnerable Democrats in states that will be most affected by EPA rules. Even if the bill ultimately fails to become law, Republicans will attempt to force a vote on the issue in order to get Democrats on the record in anticipation of next year’s election.

“This is going to be a year to shape legislation in terms of the presidential race in 2012,” a Senate Republican aide involved with efforts to block EPA climate rules said, arguing that fears of repercussions back home might convince fence-sitting lawmakers to support the bill.

Republican plans to block efforts by the Obama EPA to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions are quickly coming into focus. House Republicans, with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) at the helm, will outline a plan to permanently block the agency’s upcoming climate rules in the coming weeks, and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) will introduce similar legislation Monday.

“We’re going to try to pass what we think is right out of the House. We’re going to make every effort that we can do to get it through the Senate,” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), who chairs a key House Energy subcommittee and is playing a major role in efforts to block EPA climate rules, told The Hill recently. “And if the president vetoes it, then one thing that’s going to do is elevate these issues for the 2012 presidential election.”

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