GOP congressman offers Obama a lump of coal for Christmas

Dec 20, 2014 12:42 PM by CBS News

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pennsylvania, offered President Obama a lump of coal for Christmas on Saturday, urging the president to kickstart America's economic growth by accelerating the development of domestic energy resources.

"I'm offering the president a lump of coal because this product right here holds the potential for a 21st-century economic revival," Kelly said in the weekly Republican address, holding a piece of coal aloft. "Coal is our most abundant and valuable resource. It lights our homes, keeps our electric bills low and puts food on the table for countless families. More than 40,000 jobs in my state alone are tied to coal."

Kelly highlighted the abundance of America's domestic energy deposits.

"With all that God has given us, we shouldn't just be trying to keep up with the pack," he said. "My goodness, we should be leading the world."

The congressman accused the president of stifling domestic production with regulations and red tape, and he criticized the president's recent imposition of a cap on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

"The president said he would bankrupt the coal industry, and he's spent his presidency trying to do just that," Kelly said. "Federal regulations have already forced two coal-fired power plants in my district to close over the past two years. Hundreds more are set to shut down around the country."

"So whether it's stopping these regulations, expediting infrastructure, or expanding production, there's so much we can do to encourage the development of all forms of American energy," he added.

Kelly promised a vote to approve the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline when Republicans assume control of both houses of Congress in January. A vote to expedite the approval of that controversial project failed by just one vote in the Democratically controlled Senate in November.

In his own address on Saturday, President Obama continued sounding the triumphal note he carried through his year-end press conference on Friday, asserting confidently, "America's resurgence is real."

"As 2014 comes to an end, we can enter the new year with new confidence that America is making significant strides where it counts," the president said, citing progress on jobs, wages, health care and manufacturing.

He said America is "leading" abroad as well, citing the multilateral campaign to destroy extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, the efforts to contain Ebola in West Africa, the recent climate change deal with China and the historic opening of relations with Cuba that he announced this week.

The president also reserved a special word of thanks for U.S. troops serving in harm's way, marking the fast-approaching end of America's combat mission in Afghanistan and thanking service members for their sacrifices.

He said he looks forward to working with the Republican Congress in 2015 to "reverse the decades-long erosion of middle-class jobs and incomes" and "make sure our economy, our justice system and our government work not only for a few, but for all of us."

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