GOP leaders are seeking to rollback some of President Donald Trump’s signature environmental regulations as they try to rally voters ahead of the midterm elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that he has proposed a package of tax breaks and other measures to make the Republican Party more competitive in 2018 and beyond.
But the proposal, which has not been made public, would reduce or eliminate some of the Clean Air Act regulations enacted in recent years, including a new rule that would limit emissions of volatile organic compounds and mercury.
“It’s not perfect, but we’re going to make it better,” McConnell said during a White House briefing Monday, noting that the plan would give a boost to businesses and create jobs.
“The bill is designed to help the U.S. become a nation of energy producers,” he said.
Trump has said the rules are needed to protect the environment and that he will repeal them as soon as possible if he is elected.
“There are a lot of regulations in place, and they’re all terrible,” Trump said in May.
“But the Clean Power Plan is one of the worst, and I’m going to take it out, as soon a Republican president takes office,” he added.
Democrats have long said the environmental regulations were a key reason they lost the popular vote in 2020.
The GOP-led House passed a bill last week that would repeal most of the Environmental Protection Agency regulations and the Clean Water Rule.
But Senate Democrats are blocking the measure from moving to the Senate floor, saying it would undermine the president’s executive orders.
Trump had previously said the Clean Coal Rule and Clean Power Rule were a top priority for his administration and would be rolled back in the wake of the GOP proposal.
Trump said in an interview last month with Fox News that he would “re-evaluate” the Clean Energy Act rules.
The Senate has passed a measure that would extend some of those rules for six months, and McConnell said Monday the Senate would “work closely” with the House to work out the details.
“We’ll see what happens,” McConnell told reporters.
“As soon as we can make sure we get those bills to the president,” he continued, “then we’ll make the effort to roll them back.”
The Environmental Protection Office, which oversees the Clean Act, said the bill does not change the agency’s mandate to regulate greenhouse gases.
The EPA also announced Monday that it would make it easier for consumers to access information about how much energy they are using.
The agency said it would also offer a “carbon footprint calculator” to help consumers figure out how much it would cost them to reduce their carbon footprint.
The plan is not expected to be adopted by the House, but McConnell has signaled that the House might consider it if he wins reelection in 2020 or 2024.
McConnell is seeking to boost turnout among working-class voters by appealing to the GOP base by saying he will be a “hard working conservative who will work to make America great again.”
The EPA will now be allowed to issue an emergency rule to limit the amount of methane emitted from coal-fired power plants.
The House last week voted to extend the methane rule, which expired in 2020, by five years.
Democrats are concerned that Republicans are pushing for a rule that will increase greenhouse gas emissions.
House Democrats have argued that the methane regulation would be a boon to the coal industry, and have called for it to be rescinded.
McDonald’s Corp., which operates restaurants in more than 30 states, has been a target of Democrats in recent weeks.
McDonnel, who has served in the Senate for a record 27 years, has also called for an end to the ban on coal mining in West Virginia, which he has previously supported.