US House rejects Obama climate change regulations

Washington, Dec 2 (IANS) In a snub to President Barack Obama, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted to block his push to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The House vote — intended to demonstrate that he didn’t have support in even America — came hours after Obama pushed for an international agreement to combat climate change in Paris.

Passed largely along party lines, a pair of House resolutions would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing limits on electric utilities and coal plants under new rules released earlier this year.

Both measures, already approved by the Senate in October, now go to the White House, which has already vowed to veto them.

Democrats maintain Republicans don’t have the vote to override any veto so they denounced the debate as a waste of time.

Republicans on the floor said they deliberately held the votes the same day as the president’s remarks at the international climate change conference in Paris to show the president faced opposition back home.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan brushed off Obama’s call earlier on Tuesday for a “legally binding” provision to enforce the targets that countries set for cutting carbon output.

“I think when you weigh the costs and benefits against these so-called legally binding obligations they don’t add up,” he said, adding that the public wants measure that won’t impede job creation.

Throughout the floor debate, Democrats mocked Republicans who they said were “in denial” about the science and impact of climate change.

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise maintained that the President’s focus on the issue was misplaced. “While the president continues to talk about the national security threat posed by global warming, the American people want more focus put on the strategy to defeat ISIS,” he said.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said on Monday that Obama’s comments that climate change poses one of the greatest threats to the US is one of the “dumbest things” ever said. Trump’s comments on MSNBC came as Obama told the Paris summit that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing the US and the world.

“I think one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics — in the history of politics as I know it, which is pretty good — was Obama’s statement that our No.1 problem is global warming,” Trump said.

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