WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans “are happy” to consider legislation tied to the BP Plc oil spill but will not support a U.S. energy bill that includes climate regulations, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday.
Congress is considering several dozen bills to prevent another disaster like the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico but broad legislation that would regulate greenhouse gas emissions has stalled in the Senate.
“We are happy to look at oil spill legislation ... There are some things we can do (on an energy bill),” McConnell told CNN’s “State of the Union” program when asked if his party could support some of President Barack Obama’s agenda.
A climate change and alternative energy bill passed the House of Representatives last year, with minimal Republican support. It mandated a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, from 2005 levels.
But McConnell said Republicans in the Senate would oppose climate regulations in an energy bill, which he described as an energy tax on the nation.
A scaled-back climate change bill that Senate Democrats are considering would achieve far less than Obama promised at a U.N. global warming conference last year — but even this may be too much for Congress.
The White House has said an energy bill is a top legislative priority this summer.
Without legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency could go ahead early next year with new regulations on carbon pollution that are already facing legal challenges.
Writing by Paul Simao; Editing by John O'Callaghan