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House votes to reject Obama climate change regulations

Story highlights

  • GOP-led House passes resolutions to block EPA from implementing rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions
  • President Barack Obama is expected to veto the measures
  • Obama attended the U.N.-led climate change negotiations in Paris this week

Washington (CNN)Hours after President Barack Obama pushed for an international agreement to combat climate change, the GOP-led House of Representatives voted to block that effort and demonstrate the President didn't have support in his own country.

The House passed a pair of resolutions, largely along party lines, that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing rules the administration released earlier this year to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
    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.
    The resolutions cited Congress' power under the "Congressional Review Act" to weigh in on new regulations. The bills would prohibit EPA from enforcing limits on electric utilities and coal plants. Republicans on the floor said they deliberately held the votes the same day as the president's remarks at an international climate change conference in Paris to show the president faced opposition back home.
    House Speaker Paul Ryan brushed off the 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," the Wisconsin Republican 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.
    "What we should be doing here is providing some wind at the back of not only our president, but of all the leaders of the world who are gathering to try to figure out how to deal with this challenge," Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern said on the House floor.
    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."