Are Democrats Giving Up on Climate Legislation?
Photo via Minnesota Public Radio
Nancy Pelosi's not—she maintains that the massive climate and energy bill that includes a means to cut carbon nationwide will be passed this year. But others aren't so sure. Many are worried that without any Republican support, the bill is doomed, and that they should be focusing their efforts on health care reform. Others—especially those from coal rich and rust belt states--flat out oppose the climate bill, arguing in line with the GOP that it would strain industry and raise costs for American families. So is the climate bill doomed? Are Democrats giving up?Despite Nancy Pelosi's optimism, climate bill author Henry Waxman's continued persistence, and Obama's vocal encouragement it's unfortunately starting to seem that way. As TruthOut points out, many exasperated Dems are beginning to view the bill as a lost cause. Many want to abandon or delay the bill until health care reform. Many coal state Democrats are beholden to coal and union interests in states like Pennsylvania and Alabama—and don't want to risk upsetting their constituency by enacting measures that would cost Big Coal money. In other words, a lot of Democrats share the same views Republicans do on the issue.
I know I often catch flak here for seeming too partisan—a notion I tried to remedy a bit by pointing out that there were indeed green Republicans doing great things. But I'd like to point out that my issue with Republicans isn't that they're Republicans—it's that at least currently, the GOP has adopted a party-wide stance of obstructing green progress. This tack even concerns moderate Republicans. When the GOP goes so far as to release anti-climate legislation talking points memos in order to take a uniformly unproductive approach towards preventing climate action, and you happen to support climate action, it's difficult not to take issue with it. If every single Republican in Congress would vote against a cap and trade, I have to oppose that stance.
But it's not just Republicans, of course—there are plenty of Democrats in the pocket of Big Coal, too. It's just that they're party doesn't exclaim across the board that fighting climate change necessitates higher taxes and is no business of the government, so it's harder to single them out. The climate bill is definitely stumbling—fruitless debate over how much to make companies pay, general conflicting interests, and a pervading (and misguided) sense that now is the wrong time to attempt climate legislation. But even though the bill's not perfect, it would be a huge step in the right direction.
Our nation needs a cap and trade to make progress in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. ASAP. It's that simple. To that end, I'm not necessarily pro-Democrat, or anti-Republican. I'm pro-green.