#StuckInTheSenate: Stopping the War on Coal, Saving Jobs

John Boehner

Problem: The Obama administration has proposed a de facto national energy tax that, along with a host of other excessive regulations, will put thousands out of work and force even more coal plants to shut down.   American families – who are already seeing electricity prices rise “at the highest rate in five years” – will also feel the pinch, with rate hikes as high as 10.3 percent, says the American Action Forum

Our Solution: On March 6, 2014, the House passed H.R. 3826, the Electricity Security Affordability Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) that would prevent these rules from taking effect unless the House and Senate approve them by law.  In an op-ed in USA Today earlier this summer, Speaker Boehner called on the president and Senate Democrats to act on the bill, along with numerous others Republicans have passed to protect and expand all forms of American energy:

“President Obama says he supports all of the above, but his actions prove the opposite. Just consider his plan to impose excessive new EPA regulations on power plants — what amounts to a national energy tax. It will have Americans asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ for years while their bills go up, electric grid reliability is compromised, and energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing take on even more water. …  The president has no more elections to win, yet he allows the narrow interests of his most extreme political allies to dictate an agenda that puts jobs and opportunity out of reach for middle-class families. While he’s writing America’s energy workers off, we’re trying to give them the tools they need to succeed.”

Senate Inaction:  Republicans are not the only ones calling the president out for his job-destroying energy agenda.  The proposal “prompted an immediate backlash from Democrats” back in June, with one Democrat – the sponsor of H.R. 3826’s companion measure in the Senate – even admitting “it’s clear now that the President has declared a war on coal.”  Yet despite having bipartisan support in both Houses of Congress, the Senate “has no timetable to consider the legislation” and the White House has threatened to veto the measure.   

Consequences: Analysis by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) finds the Obama administration’s national energy tax could cost an estimated 75,000 coal-related jobs over the next six years and, “by 2035, those job losses will more than double to 152,000…a 50 percent cut in these well-paying, highly skilled jobs.”  “It’s going to be devastating if it goes through in its current form,” UMWA president Cecil Roberts said before a recent protest against the president’s plan, “Our jobs are at risk,” added Jason Pethtel, a coal miner from Moundsville, W.Va.  Senate Democrats are putting the president’s misguided agenda ahead of jobs and the economy by refusing to act, and the longer they wait, the more hardworking families – particularly those that depend on coal for their jobs and their electricity – will suffer.



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