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GOP: Obama war on coal a 'dagger in the heart' of Americans

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Top Republican lawmakers blasted President Obama's new plan announced Monday to substantially slash emissions from power plants as an assault on the poor who will see their electric bills soar.

"Today’s announcement is a dagger in the heart of the American middle class," said Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell.

Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said, “Despite the president's focus on income inequality, this is a plan to make the poor poorer as it is the nation's most vulnerable who suffer the most from higher energy prices and layoffs."

And Rep. Ed Whitfield, chair of the energy and power subcommittee added, “It is clear that this administration is pushing regulations that are full of costs and no benefits, ultimately bankrupting the American people."

Theres were among the first responses to the plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired energy plants by 30 percent, a plan the president and his EPA said will make the national healthier while shifting to more renewable energy.

Below are the statements of Upton and Whitfield just released:

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, “The president promised under his plan, electricity rates would 'necessarily skyrocket,' and this is one promise he is actually delivering on. Four years after a Democratic Senate rejected cap-and-trade, the administration continues its pursuit to regulate where Congress refused to legislate. As the American economy shrunk last quarter, why in the world is the president pushing regulations that will serve to increase utility rates for consumers, send manufacturing jobs overseas, and hamstring our economic recovery? And despite the president’s focus on income inequality, this is a plan to make the poor poorer as it is the nation’s most vulnerable who suffer the most from higher energy prices and layoffs.”

Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said, “The president's effort to eliminate coal as an energy source is reckless, but it is not surprising because he promised he would ‘bankrupt’ the coal industry when running for president in 2008. We are the only country in the world pursuing such extreme regulations, which just last week the Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy estimated would cost the economy 224,000 jobs and $289 billion in higher electricity costs through 2030. It is clear that this administration is pushing regulations that are full of costs and no benefits, ultimately bankrupting the American people. We have already witnessed the failures and consequences of a government takeover of our health care system, and we can’t afford the same mistakes with government takeover of our energy sector. The high energy costs in Europe and the need for reliable electricity this past winter should serve as a cautionary tale. My subcommittee will continue our aggressive oversight of this proposal, and all of EPA’s actions, as we work to protect Americans and their jobs from these destructive rules. I also urge the Senate to act swiftly on my bill, the Electricity Security and Affordability Act, which passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, so we can at least have a national debate about American energy before President Obama forces his cap-and-tax policy through the backdoor and around the American people. Finally, the president should stop misleading the American people. He is always talking about an all-of the-above energy policy and using all fuel sources, but he is removing coal from the equation."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.