Mitch McConnell spent lots of time on the campaign trail vowing a frontal assault on President Obama's executive moves to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which he calls a declaration of war on Kentucky's coal industry.
Now that McConnell has won and is on his way to being the Senate's next majority leader, he has pledged he won't force a government shutdown in upcoming battles over federal spending legislation. What's the connection? Policy restrictions, or "riders," on spending bills are the best way for members of Congress to thwart executive actions they dislike. So something has got to give. And the Kentucky Republican acknowledges in a new interview that nixing EPA's rules via appropriations legislation is a heavy lift.
"It will be hard, because the only good tool to do that ... is through the spending process, and if [Obama] feels strongly enough about it, he can veto the bill," McConnell tells the Lexington Herald-Leader. Obama, by all indications, does feel pretty strongly about it. Those EPA rules are a central pillar of his climate-change agenda, and he's gone out of his way to personally promote them. John Podesta, a top aide, said months ago that the White House won't yield on the rules.