The Senate could hold votes as soon as this week on resolutions opposing President Obama's climate rules for power plants, ahead of an international meeting on global warming in Paris at the end of the month that he is set to attend.
A vote on resolutions of disapproval would send a clear message to other countries that the president does not have the support of Congress to agree to new global emission cuts, say congressional staff.
The Paris talks will bring together all nations to hash out a deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions to stop the Earth's temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius. The climate rules are the linchpin in the United States' commitments to the global deal. Many scientists say the manmade emissions created by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, are causing the climate to warm, resulting in more droughts and floods.
Two resolutions could be brought to the floor for votes the week of Nov. 16 before Obama travels to Paris for the climate meeting that starts Nov. 30, aides say.
The two resolutions fall under the Congressional Review Act as "resolutions of disapproval," which can be passed by a simple majority to nullify the climate rules for power plants. The first one, introduced by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., would seek to repeal the Clean Power Plan for existing power plants. The rule requires states to reduce emissions a third by 2030 and is being challenged in court by 27 states and a multitude of interest groups.