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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today in Washington, D.C. - June 17, 2010 - GOP To Obama: Don't Use Oil Crisis To Push Cap-and-Tax

The Senate resumed consideration of the House message to accompany H.R. 4213, the debt-extending “tax extenders bill”.  Then they voted 41-57 to reject a substitute amendment from Sen. John Thune (R-SD) to extend expiring tax breaks and unemployment benefits, cut spending to pay for them, and reduce the deficit by $68 billion.

Yesterday, after Democrats failed to get 60 votes to waive a budget point of order against the Baucus substitute amendment, which adds at least $54 billion more to the $13 trillion debt, they moved on to other amendments. The Senate approved an amendment from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to extend the new homebuyer tax credit until October, offset by raising certain business taxes. The Senate rejected an amendment from Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to do the same thing, but pay for it with unspent stimulus funds.

This morning, Senate Republicans released a new video, examining how President Obama and his administration have followed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s famous advice to “never let a serious crisis go to waste” in using the economic crisis to sell their $862 billion stimulus bill and their unpopular health care law to lawmakers and the public. And now, the video points out, Obama is using the crisis in the Gulf to push his stalled cap-and-trade bill, which would amount to a national energy tax if passed.

The Hill explains the video “takes aim at White House Chief of Staff's admonition to ‘never let a serious crisis go to waste,’ in order to warn Obama against using the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to pivot and push for energy legislation including strong measures to rein in climate change. ‘Americans need you to solve this crisis,’ the GOP warned in the new web video, ‘not use it.’”

But, based on a number of news reports today, using this crisis to sell cap-and-trade might be a harder sell among Democrats than the stimulus and health care. According to Politico, “Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who talked about energy with Obama during a meeting in the White House last week, continued to argue that an energy-only approach has a better chance of passing. ‘The question is always are there 60 votes for some sort of cap-and-trade bill,’ he said. ‘I think the answer in the Senate is, at this point, no.’”

The Hill reports, “[O]ther lawmakers said a nationwide cap on emissions is now substantially less likely. ‘It’s going to be difficult,’ said Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).” Further, The Hill notes, “A senior Democratic senator said Obama knows the chances of passing climate change legislation are slim and wants to avoid a public failure.”

And Roll Call points out skeptical comments from Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Ben Nelson (D-NE): “‘I don’t think it moved the discussion that much,’ said Sen. Mark Pryor, who predicted the administration will quickly back off the idea of a comprehensive climate bill. ‘At the end of the day, my guess is they won’t push it that hard,’ the Arkansas Democrat said. ‘I think the president wants it. ... I just don’t think there’s 60 votes to do that, even with the oil spill.’ . . . ‘His call to action may not have been about any specific piece of legislation. ... I accepted it more in the spirit of, “We have to do something,”’ said Nelson, who called anything resembling cap-and-trade, which he opposes, ‘implausible’ in the current political environment.”

Democrats weren’t very enthusiastic about the prospects of cap-and-trade yesterday, either. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told Bloomberg News, “There’s not a great call for it in the Democratic caucus . . . .” And Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said, sensibly, “The climate bill isn’t going to stop the oil leak. . . . The first thing you have to do is stop the oil leak.”

So far, Democrats don’t seem to be buying the administration’s crisis pitch on their cap-and-trade scheme. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, “Every time we face a crisis, it seems, this administration takes us on another ideological tour of the far-left to-do list, when all the American people want from it are some straightforward practical solutions. So the White House may view this oil spill as an opportunity to push its agenda in Washington, but Americans or more concerned about what it plans to do to solve the crisis in the Gulf. Americans have had enough of the crisis rhetoric coming out of this White House. They want real answers to real problems.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, US Congress, Oil Crisis, Cap-and-tax To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 2:12 PM - Post Link


Anonymous LaVanda Ivie Shellnutt said...

Bill, thanks for the heads up on these votes. The frightening thing is the people "in charge" are setting up to try and clamp down on the people and grab more power. They want Cap & Trade very badly and I am very suspicious of all the far left spouting that Obama was too wimpy in his speech on Tuesday. They are trying a set up to push him to grab total control. A CNBC analyst on Tuesday night said "he needs to act like a DICTATOR" These are some bad people.

Blogger Bill Smith said...

LaVanda, You are exactly right.


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