Oct 10, 2019

Senate Democrats plan to force vote on Trump's power plant emissions rule

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Democrats intend to force a roll call vote next week on EPA regulations that scrapped Obama-era carbon emissions rules for power plants and replaced them with a more modest alternative.

Why it matters: Floor votes on global warming are rare, and the bid to scuttle the Trump administration rule signals Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) increasing emphasis on the topic.

  • The planned vote comes roughly 2 weeks after Schumer said a sweeping climate bill would be "one of the first things we put on the floor" if Democrats regain the majority in the 2020 elections.

What's next: Schumer's office said Democrats would force a vote under the Congressional Review Act, a mid-1990s law that gives Congress power to overturn final regulations.

  • Resolutions under the law are immune from filibusters, meaning only a majority vote is needed for passage.

But, but, but: The move is very likely more of a messaging effort than a realistic chance at altering Trump administration policy.

  • Schumer's announcement says it will be the first of several on various topics, including healthcare, to show how GOP leadership has "turned the upper chamber into a legislative graveyard for priorities of the American people."

The big picture: Over the summer, the EPA issued final rules that require states to make coal-fired units more efficient over time, but the regulations lack binding CO2-cutting targets. They replaced a wider 2015 regulation, which never took effect, that sought to drive more wide-ranging power sector changes.

Go deeper: How the EPA's climate rule rollback could reach beyond coal

Go deeper

Making sense of the Senate climate vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate rejected Friday a resolution to overturn the EPA's recent decision to scrap Obama-era carbon emissions regulations for power plants and replace them with more modest rules.

Driving the news: 3 Democrats — Kyrsten Sinema, Doug Jones, and Joe Manchin — joined Republicans in opposing the Democratic measure. Susan Collins was the only Republican to support the resolution in the 41-53 vote.

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019

Schumer unveils electric car plan he'll push if Dems take Senate

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. on Oct. 23, 2019. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said new plans to speed the transition to electric cars will be a pillar of wider climate legislation he'll propose if Democrats gain a majority in the 2020 elections.

Why it matters: The proposal unveiled in a New York Times op-ed on Thursday provides a look at major climate measures Schumer will promote if his party takes control of the chamber (which is an uphill battle).

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

Where the 2020 candidates stand on abolishing the filibuster

Photo credits left to right: Scott Olson/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images; Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As 2020 Democratic candidates campaign for sweeping changes to the tax system, immigration, health care, gun control and corruption, a few candidates have suggested that, if elected, they would direct their Senate allies to abolish the filibuster, a tactic used by senators to delay or block legislative action.

The big picture: Regardless of a candidate's stance on filibusters, the Senate makes its own rules at the discretion of the majority party. Democrats would have to win back the Senate to ban filibusters.

Go deeperArrowNov 3, 2019