Today, President Obama unveiled his eagerly-awaited “Carbon Rule” which will limit CO2 emissions from power plants across the country, especially from coal-powered plants, in an effort to combat climate change. The plan is highly controversial among Congress Republicans, but nearly all Democratic Presidential Candidates for 2016 have defended the plan. Gov. Martin O’Malley went so far as to write on Twitter that he would “expand it to cover large emission sources beyond power plants” if elected. His announcement was complemented by a video:
After the infamous battle that surrounded the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress are expected to vote to overrule the President’s action, and the action may even be challenged before the Supreme Court by the end of President Obama’s second term.
Republicans have railed against the President’s plan during the lead-up to today’s announcement. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suggested that the rule was made for “grabbing power from states” or “slowly hollowing out our economy”. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called the rule a “buzz saw on the nation’s economy”. Sen. Marco Rubio called the rule “catastrophic” for utility prices. None of them fully agree with the scientific consensus on climate change.
What makes the looming battle different from that which occurred after the ACA was implemented is that the Carbon Rule is an executive action. Once President Obama leaves office in January 2017, the new POTUS may choose to scale the plan back or eliminate it altogether at his or her discretion.
With this much push-back before anything was finalized, the rule is likely to be a contentious point for the 2016 race and for the remainder of the President’s second term. Climate change solutions may be integral to this election season’s debates.
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