Obama's EPA Rule Change: Where the 2016ers Stand

Obama's EPA Rule Change: Where the 2016ers Stand
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President Obama’s announcement Monday of a new EPA regulation to limit carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants elicited strong—and largely predictable—responses from the field of 2016 presidential candidates. Because Obama’s action can be undone by the next occupant of the White House, those comments carry more than rhetorical weight. Here’s a sampling of the early reaction.

The Republicans

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the plan an “irresponsible & overreaching” power grab on Twitter. He also linked to his official press release, which includes an interview segment with Politico’s Mike Allen at the Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners summit last weekend: “It’s a disaster,” Bush told Allen. “It’s typical of the Obama administration taking power he doesn’t have. … I think it’s unconstitutional, and I think in a relatively short period of time, the courts will, too.”

Marco Rubio urged his Twitter followers to click on a video link, in which the Florida senator says the new regulation “will make the cost of electricity higher for millions of Americans, so if there is a billionaire out there somewhere who is a pro-environmental, cap-and-trade person, yeah, they can probably afford for their electric bill to go up a couple hundred dollars. But if you’re a single mom in Tampa, Florida, and your bill goes up $30 a month, that is catastrophic.”

Like Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz deemed the rule change “unconstitutional” in his Twitter remarks. “The President’s lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the nation’s energy system is flatly unconstitutional,” the senator said, linking his campaign press release. Cruz sees the move as a step toward “skyrocketing” electric bills and urged leaders from both parties to fight against the policy change.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee criticized what he called the president’s “carbon crusade” and the potential for job cuts as a result. He also used the post as an opportunity to redirect focus onto the Iran nuclear deal, of which he is highly critical.

The Democrats

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton tweeted: “@POTUS is right—we can't wait for another generation to tackle climate change. Our future depends on what we do today & in the next decade.” The tweet got 132 retweets and 208 favorites in its first five minutes.

Bernie Sanders asserted that Republicans’ reaction to the rule change reflects the wants of current and potential donors: “Maybe for once Republicans can overcome the needs of their campaign contributors and worry instead about the planet,” the Vermont senator tweeted, directly referring to the Koch brothers.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley didn’t respond immediately to the president’s plan, but he does have a tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter account, urging Republicans to take climate change seriously.

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee tagged @POTUS in his support for announcement when he tweeted: “#CleanPowerPlan puts America back in a leadership role on climate change. I'm proud of my record as Senator & Governor. I support @POTUS –L.”

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