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U.S. Republicans Take Aim At EPA Climate Rules

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Benjamin Goad, The Hill

US House appropriators on Tuesday approved a $30 billion spending bill designed to block a host of looming Environmental Protection Agency regulations viewed by the GOP as exceeding the agency’s authority. Among the bill’s targets are controversial regulations at the center of Obama’s climate change initiative.

Republicans on the Appropriations Committee pushed through the Interior and environment funding bill, sending it to the House floor over the objections of Democrats who described it as full of “veto bait” and handouts to big business.

The panel advanced the measure — the seventh, and potentially last for the year, of the 12 annual appropriations bills Congress is supposed to pass — by a 29–19 vote. Even if approved by the House, the bill is unlikely to become law. The Senate has yet to act on a single appropriations bill, and President Obama would likely refuse to sign it.

Still, the bill has become another battleground for the GOP’s escalating assault on Obama’s regulatory agenda. It contains myriad provisions designed to dial back or altogether block a wide range of EPA regulations.

Among the bill’s targets are controversial regulations at the center of Obama’s climate change initiative, as well as obscure rules proposed by an agency that for many Republicans has become the poster child for executive branch overreach.

Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) accused the administration of being “hell bent on adding layer after layer of harmful red tape.”

“No other agency has done more to inflict this type of pain than the EPA,” Rogers said at the start of a markup session that ran nearly four hours.

The bill takes aim at the EPA’s twin draft regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants — both last month’s proposal to reduce carbon pollution from existing plants, as well as a rule offered earlier this year for future plants.

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