McConnell says "a variety of options" for coal industry will be presented to Trump but immediate impact "hard to tell"

11/12/2016 09:30 AM

LOUISVILLE – Fresh off a meeting with the incoming president and vice president, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that he expects a “good start” from President-elect Donald Trump when he takes office in January.

Exactly what will be taken up and when is still unknown. McConnell shed little light on what was discussed behind closed doors during his hour-long meeting with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Thursday, saying the Republicans discussed changes to the Affordable Care Act and the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The American people expect us to pursue the agenda that we talked about, and I’m confident that’s what we’re going to do,” McConnell said during a news conference at the McConnell Center on the University of Louisville’s campus. “… Obviously we’ll be talking to the new president, and the speaker and I will be talking about the order in which to pursue our priorities, and honestly I’m just not prepared to say what the order’s going to be yet.”

McConnell, who said Americans shouldn’t be “unduly alarmed” by protests against Trump’s victory, said the Senate will consider “a variety of options that could end this assault” against the coal industry, but he stopped short of predicting a turnaround in mining.

“Whether that immediately brings business back is hard to tell because it’s a private-sector activity,” he said.

Green-lighting the Keystone XL pipeline would be “the kind of thing that I hope he’ll be looking at,” McConnell said of Trump.

“Much of what President Obama did that slowed our economy, he did on his own, either executive orders or regulations,” he said. “Executive branch only, and so one of the ways to get this economy growing again, I think, is to deal with regulatory changes.”

McConnell’s Republican majority in the Senate fell to 51 after Tuesday’s elections, meaning he’ll need to attract support from some Democrats in order to get the 60 votes necessary to move legislation through the upper chamber.

He already has his eyes on the 2018 midterms, when Democrats will be defending 25 seats, some of those in Republican-friendly territory like Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri.

“There are at least five Democrats running for re-election in 2018 in very red states,” McConnell said. “I think they’re going to want to be cooperative with us on a variety of different things, and I look forward to that cooperation.”


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