CHARLESTON (AP) – Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Congressman who shared the GOP 2012 presidential ticket with Mitt Romney, came to West Virginia Monday to blast federal energy and health care policies and urge Mountain State residents to send Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., to the U.S. Senate this fall.
“If you want to stop the war on coal, if you want to have an accountable federal government, then you need to have Shelley Moore Capito come to the United States Senate and help us bring normalcy back to Congress,” Ryan said in a short news conference following an hour-long business roundtable in Charleston. “It’s just that simple.”
Ryan’s appearance came the same day as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren visited West Virginia to campaign for Capito’s opponent, Democratic nominee Natalie Tennant, West Virginia’s Secretary of State.
Capito and Tennant are vying to replace U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat who has served since 1985.
Democrats now hold 53 of the Senate’s 100 seats, but Republican leaders say they’ll win Rockefeller’s seat and several others in the fall election to take the majority.
Ryan labeled the Democrat-controlled Senate a “graveyard” for legislation from the GOP-controlled House.
Capito said it means “a lot” to her that Ryan came to the state. “I will remind you that every single county in this state voted to make Paul Ryan our vice president,” she said. “His policies and his vision for our future … by him putting his stamp of approval on my campaign, that’s a lot for me.”
During his stop in Charleston, Ryan characterized Warren as “the left of the left of the Democratic Party.” He also pointed to her outspoken support of the president’s energy policy.
“Elizabeth Warren is part of the war on coal,” he said. “Elizabeth Warren is a part of the United States Senate that is blocking legislation to preserve coal jobs, that’s blocking legislation to preserve energy jobs in America.”
Ryan and Capito met with about 20 local business and community leaders and residents. The representatives fielded several questions about a variety of federal policies, including health care, higher ed, mortgages and tax reform.
Ryan said the country should promote selling coal and natural gas. The shift would ease the nation’s dependency on oil from the Middle East while increasing exports for U.S. businesses, he said.
“Coal is the secret sauce to giving us abundant, affordable energy,” Ryan said.
He declined to answer a question about whether man-made actions are contributing to climate change, instead saying the president’s regulations are “obnoxious.”