By Zachary Stieber
President Joe Biden’s administration took steps in the wrong direction on Biden’s first day in office, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday.
“The president re-entered the failed Paris climate agreement—a terrible bargain that would set us up to self-inflict major economic pain on working American families with no assurance that China or Russia would honor their commitments. In fact, the U.S. has already been reducing carbon emissions while China and other nations in the agreement have kept increasing theirs. Rejoining will just set us up to kill American jobs while our competitors continue to roar on by,” McConnell said on the Senate floor in Washington.
“The President also unilaterally cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. The day-one priority was to kill thousands of American jobs including union jobs, disappoint our strong ally Canada, and reverse some of our progress toward energy security. This is a project that the liberal Canadian government and Prime Minister Trudeau support. An investment in North American energy. Even the Obama State Department concluded it would not harm the climate. But because canceling a pipeline project just feels like the green thing to do, the new administration killed these jobs.”
McConnell also criticized the release of a proposal for amnesty for illegal immigrants and the firing of the National Labor Relations Board’s independent general counsel.
“This was not the day one that American workers deserved,” he said, adding: “It’s still early. There is plenty of time for President Biden to remember that he does not owe his election to the far left. The president can and should refocus his administration on creating good-paying American jobs, not sacrificing our people’s livelihoods to liberal symbolism. Senate Republicans will be ready, willing, and eager to help make that happen.”
McConnell was speaking as the first time during the new Congress as minority leader, after Democrats flipped the Senate thanks to winning both Georgia Senate runoff elections earlier this month.
Biden, after taking office on Wednesday, signed a flurry of executive orders, unraveling some of former President Donald Trump’s achievements.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking before McConnell, praised Biden’s mandates.
“Even as the festivities were in full swing, our new president and this new Senate commenced the work of rebuilding our country and healing its wounds. With the stroke of a pen, President Biden started the process of rejoining the United States to the Paris accords. He extended the pause on student loan payments. Put an end to the Muslim travel ban, reinstalled safeguards for our nation’s dreamers, and put a halt on the ineffective border wall,” Schumer said.
“Crucially, President Biden signed a number of orders to refocus the federal government’s efforts on fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. has rejoined the World Health Organization. A mask mandate has been issued for all federal property. And president Biden has named a new coronavirus response coordinator to manage vaccine distribution, which is so desperately needed and was such a failure under the Trump administration.”
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