Will the Climate Bill Grant Obama the Powers of a Dictator?
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No, no, it won't. I wish this could be a one-word post, but unfortunately, I think I'll have to do some explaining. You see, in one of the odder charges against the now-bipartisan climate bill, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has taken to saying that it will arm Obama with the powers of a dictator. This, of course, is not the case--but that never stopped these bizarre mutterings from developing into full-fledged talking points. So, with a little help from a conservative blogger, let's just nip this one in the bud.In what the Washington Independent calls a "deeply strange story," it notes that "Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has been making the rounds today claiming that the climate bill includes a provision that ... "requires President Obama to act like Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez" and assume emergency powers if a "climate emergency" is declared by the EPA."
This is completely crazy. Nowhere in either bill is anything called a "climate emergency" even mentioned, and the so-called "strong man" powers include giving Obama the ability to suggest legislative amendments to Congress. Every four years after 2015. Um, gasp?
Even Hot Air, the staunchly conservative blog recognizes that this is preposterous:
it simply doesn't do what Vitter claims. Nowhere in either bill does the term "climate emergency" appear, which Vitter claims is the lever through which the President will claim dictatorial powers.Of course, the post then goes on to deny climate change and say a clean energy economy will kill jobs, but hey, they know how to pick their battles, I guess.
Here's the passage from the legislation that's sparked this non-controversy (nontroversy?):
In the event that the Administrator or the National Academy of Sciences has concluded, in the most recent report submitted under section 705 or 706 respectively, that the United States will not achieve the necessary domestic greenhouse gas emissions reductions, or that global actions will not maintain safe global average surface temperature and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration thresholds, the President shall, not later than July 1, 2015, and every 4 years thereafter, submit to Congress a plan identifying domestic and international actions that will achieve necessary additional greenhouse gas reductions, including any recommendations for legislative action.Just try to find anything in there that says the climate bill will turn Obama into a Hugo Chavez-type dictator--it's about as benign as possible. Well, apparently Vitter doesn't care--he's got the baseless story he helped peddle still posted to his website:
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