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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Robbins

State Sen.

Bob Robbins, R-50th, praised Senate passage Wednesday of legislation that would amend the state constitution to address the impending federal health insurance mandate.The amendment if approved, would prevent Pennsylvania from enacting a law that requires someone to buy health insurance, or punishes them for not doing so.A state constitutional amendment must be approved by both the House and Senate in two consecutive two-year sessions and then get approval by the voters. The earliest the provision could appear on a ballot is next year.The Senate passed the bill in a 29-19 party-line vote.“We are closely watching the arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court and will see how that court rules on the constitutionality of the federal health care law long before this state constitutional amendment would come into play,” Robbins said.“I do not support giving the federal government that power and that’s a belief that I’ve heard from many people across the 50th Senatorial District.”———U.S. Rep.

Mike Kelly, R-3rd, ripped the federal Environmental Protection Agency over a proposal this week to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, claiming it would boost electricity costs.The rule announced Tuesday could either derail or jump-start plans for 15 new coal-fired power plants in 10 states, depending on when they start construction.Eventually, all coal-fired power plants would need to install equipment to capture half of their carbon pollution.“Despite the fact that nearly half of our nation’s electricity is generated by coal, the Obama administration wants to impose regulations that will limit production of this accessible and affordable source of energy that tens of millions of Americans rely on each and every day.“(Tuesday’s) new rule places an onerous and unrealistic burden on an industry by requiring it to lower emissions through technology that is not even ready for market.”Kelly noted EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson previously acknowledged that the technology won’t become commercially available until sometime in the next 10 years.———

Kelly issued this statement after the passage this week of the House Republican Budget Resolution, which he backed:“Our nation’s debt is fast-approaching $16 trillion. Anyone who thinks that we can sit back and do nothing while we continue to go deeper and deeper into the red has got their head deeply buried in the sand.“The House passed a budget today that seriously addresses our debt crisis and the government programs that drive it. It’s a responsible measure that would reduce spending by $5.3 trillion compared to the president’s budget and by $4.15 trillion compared to CBO’s current law baseline.“Most importantly, it would reform our tax code to make it more simple and fair, while reducing our debt and putting our nation on a path toward a balanced budget.”