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March 31, 2015

GOP Won’t Shut Down Government to Block ‘War on Coal,’ Thune Predicts

government shutdown epa carbon regulations war on coal power plants john thune

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A top Senate Republican predicted the GOP’s fight against the EPA’s “war on coal” won’t lead to a government shutdown.

Republican Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota predicted Thursday that a proposal from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to effectively halt the EPA’s regulation of carbon emissions from existing power plants won’t go away.

But Thune didn’t think there was any appetite to threaten a government shutdown over climate change rules or any other issue in October, just before the 2014 mid-term elections.

“No Republican is talking about using that as leverage to shut the government down,” he said. “I don’t think anybody — we’ve got a budget number that’s been put in place now that we’re operating under and any continuing resolution that gets adopted this year, I assume, would meet that number.”

Republicans are still split over their decision to shut down the government in 2013 in a failed attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act — but leaders clearly aren’t eager for a replay.

That said, Republicans plan to keep demanding a vote on the EPA amendment.

“I think any legislation that’s brought to the floor … The Democrat leader of the majority should assume that Republicans are going to try and get a vote on that amendment. It’s incredibly important in a lot of states,” Thune said. “I represent a state where coal-fired power is a very big part of our energy mix and this is going to dramatically diminish coal-fired power in this country. In fact, I think the goal of the administration and the EPA is to just completely wipe out coal-fired power, and it is a reliable, affordable energy source. Probably the best one that we have right now.”

The amendment, floated by McConnell, is particularly important to the coal mining region of eastern Kentucky in his home state. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has signaled a willingness to hold such a vote with a 60-vote threshold, or with other amendment restrictions that have been unpalatable to Republicans.

Both sides agree that amendment would’ve been crafted in a way germane to a minibus spending package that was parked last week. Such a vote might very well only require a simple majority.

“It’s important to a lot of our members, and I think it’s important to a lot of Democrats which is why Sen. Reid I don’t think wants to have it voted on on the floor, or for that matter even at the committee level,” Thune said during an interview for a Sunday appearance on C-SPAN’s “Newmakers.”

“I think you have to assume that any significant legislative vehicle that moves across the Senate floor in the foreseeable future, there will be an attempt … to at least get a vote on, on this EPA issue,” Thune said. “So, stay tuned on that. We’ll see what happens, but it’s awfully important to the economic vitality of a lot of states around this country and to the pocketbooks of a lot of middle income Americans.”

  • Jack Everett

    Wing nuts have tried that blackmail twice already and failed. These corporate pig politicians cost taxpayers billions with their obstruction. The only thing dirtier than coal is the Canadian tar sands.

    • Dutch6

      “Wing Nut”
      Why is it that Liberals can never make a comment without an ad hominem attack? I am sure that you are one of the first to complain the lack of civility.

      • daddyoyo

        Kettle, meet pot. “No Representative from California will EVER be held accountable for stupid.”

  • Wuthie

    “I think the goal of the administration and the EPA is to just
    completely wipe out coal-fired power, and it is a reliable, affordable
    energy source. Probably the best one that we have right now.”

    Good Greif John you look smarter than that. It’s true we got rid of hitching posts for horses in town and are now using parking spots for cars. We also got rid of steam locomotives and are using diesel electric motors. I imagine coal will eventually go the way of the horse for something better but the administration and EPA are not trying to wipe it out any time soon.

    I personally think you are trying to destroy the air we breath and the water we drink for a few lousy lobbyist dollars.

    • Tom Klemesrud

      Mr. Thune wants to get those of us that Christian fundamentalists say God pre-determined to go to heaven, to get there sooner. By denying the science that tells us 83% of stationary CO2 pollution comes from coal power, Senator Thune earns his money from polluters like Koch Industries as well. After all, an aversion to science was taught at Thune’s alma mater, the Bible Institute of Los Angeles; and, Doug Coe at the C-Street Fellowship, tells God’s golden boy that Jesus wants him to be rich — like Senator Thune is getting. Thune’s adherence to “intelligent design” bible-based science requires the senator to unconstitutionally censor the political speech of his critics. That does bother golden John.

    • NepotismIsDomesticTerrorism

      “I personally think you are trying to destroy the air we breath and the water we drink for a few lousy lobbyist dollars.”
      Should read: “I personally think you are trying to destroy the air we breath and the water we drink for a lot of lobbyist dollars, even more campaign dollars, and as many dollars as can be deposited into the Conservative’s offshore bank accounts.

      • RLyons

        don’t forget about all those jobs that went offshore also talk about wanting to destroy something our way of life working for a living

    • RLyons

      well if I was you I would move to Mexico or china breath their air they have …Not sure if that air would be better to breath then here in the US. We are spraying our sky’s with chemicals to control the weather when our sky’s looks like a checkerboard. Not sure which one I want to breath coal smoke or chemicals. But one thing I do see is it’s all about the party and less for who has sent them to congress senate or the Whitehouse

  • daddyoyo

    It looks like they learned their lesson from the last shutdown. They sure got spanked in the polls after that fiasco.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    Has the government forgotten about the three million unemployed workers, and their families, STILL WITHOUT an extension of unemployment benefits since last December? While Billions of tax payers dollars are sent to the Ukraine in an aid package, more and more of these unemployed continue to sink into financial ruin. How can our government send our sons & daughters off to war, but not help their unemployed loved ones back at home? The republican senate has failed these millions of voters, and their families. These Americans have lost all trust and hope and respect for the government because of this lack of compassion, and common decency

  • NepotismIsDomesticTerrorism

    No Shutdown = Socialist
    – Better Dead Than Ted Cruz

  • RLyons

    This one fight I will back every senator for fighting against the EPA our coal mines jobs has been lost no good paying jobs added to replace those lost job. this government just regrouped this county cut it up with different congress people we have lost our straight as voter


    The Republican & Democratic parties both have failed the three million unemployed workers without an extension bill since late last December. These families have fallen deeper into financial ruin and deep poverty, over the past six months, waiting for the senate to pass the extension bill. While billions of tax payer dollars have been approves for the Ukraine, and the defense of Europe, no action has been taken to pass the extension bill in the senate. The republicans spent more energy and focus on getting the Koch brothers oil pipeline passed, then they did with any other bill to help average Americans in need. They have proven themselves to be a party lacking in both compassion, and common decency. These millions of families have lost everything while waiting for the government to help them,

  • Mesa O’tay

    Adam Smith’s study of moral standards led him to realize that human beings had stumbled upon impersonal ways of cooperating that enabled us to transcend the traditional limits of our own individual knowledge.

  • Michael Nunez – A53

    A free country’s rewards serve to communicate how much certain achievements are worth, regardless of the amount of effort expended in their pursuit.

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