Mitch McConnell has already admitted GOP promises to out-of-work coal miners won’t come true.
The Senate Majority leader walked back expectations for a coal industry revival at the University of Kentucky on Friday.
“We are going to be presenting to the new president a variety of options that could end this assault [on coal],” McConnell said. “Whether that immediately brings business back is hard to tell because it’s a private sector activity.”
McConnell also cast doubts that that the government under President-elect Trump would spend federal dollars to create new coal jobs. “A government spending program is not likely to solve the fundamental problem of growth,” McConnell said. “I support the effort to help these coal counties wherever we can but that isn’t going to replace whatever was there when we had a vibrant coal industry.”
In contrast, earlier this year on the campaign trail in West Virginia, Trump said, “If I win we’re going to bring those miners back.”
In the past eight years, coal’s share of the U.S. electricity supply has fallen from half to less than a third due in large part to cheap natural gas.