Congressional Democrats are officially dropping
plans for a
comprehensive energy reform bill. They had originally hoped to pass such
a bill, meant to address long-term climate change, some time during
2010. They now say they will instead focus on a more modest energy bill
responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, dealing with such
issues as regulatory standards. Why give up?
- Dems Cite Lack of GOP Support, The New York Times' David Herszenhorn reports.
"At a news conference, [Senate] majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada,
blamed Republicans for refusing to cooperate. 'We don’t have a single
Republican to work with us,' Mr. Reid said. ... 'We know where we are,'
Mr. Reid said. 'We don't have the votes.'"
- ... But Dem Support
Was Thin, Too, Herzenhorn adds. "While Mr. Reid
criticized Republicans, it is clear he did not have sufficient support
in his own party for a broad energy bill. A number of Democratic
lawmakers from manufacturing and coal-producing states were expected to
oppose such a bill."
- Will Dems Let GOP Run Out the Clock? "The biggest
danger, at this point," sighs The New Republic's Brad Plumer, "is that Republicans will run out the clock on
energy legislation." However, "[t]here's plenty of time left. Months, in
fact. Senators could skip the August recess, take their jobs seriously,
and get to work addressing perhaps the biggest issue facing the country
(and planet). Republicans could stop senselessly filibustering every
little Senate procedure. The clock may be winding down, yes, but that's
not because of some abstract celestial force. It's not a logical
necessity. It's a conscious choice that individual senators are making."
Giving Up, Politico's Darren Samuelsohn and
Coral Davenport write: "For months, many moderates in the caucus
have said that trying to move a climate bill that caps carbon was a
bridge too far for this Congress, and they have urged dropping the cap
in favor of a modest 'energy-only' bill that ramps up renewable energy.
At a caucus meeting of Senate Democrats on Tuesday, the prevailing
feeling was that even that measure doesn’t stand a chance, say people
familiar with the meeting."
- How To Reproduce Health Care
Reform's Success "A
big reason Democrats finally passed health care reform this year, after
so many decades of trying," explains The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn, "is that traditional opponents of reform in
the health care industry dropped their opposition and started
campaigning for it." It was a matter of practicality:
If reform was
inevitable, they felt, they were better off shaping the legislation than
fighting it. (Better to be at the table than on the menu, as the saying
goes.) They succeeded and, thanks to the sweetheart deals the
industries got, the Affordable Care Act is in many ways flawed. But it
is also law of the land. If the coal industry undergoes a similar
transformation, even a partial one, climate change legislation could
stand a chance. It will surely include the same wince-inducing
compromises. But it will also be law.
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