Photo via Fox Forum
Strong words—and much needed ones. Obama's proposed budget, which includes $645 billion being generated by a federal cap and trade system, has been the target of raging debates and formal protest. So if you caught Obama's press conference the other day, you may have noticed one particular area on which the president seemed especially emboldened—yup, when the talk turned to passing a climate bill. Surely aware of the ruckus his cap and trade provision has caused, Obama tried a new tack—he encouraged Congressmen to get to work on a cap and trade themselves. He said that the cap and trade outlined in his budget was more of a signal that legislators needed to get the ball rolling, not the final word on a cap and trade. But he was passionate about the need to get some climate bill in place: (from the Climate Wire)
"Our point in the budget is let's get started now," Obama said. "We can't wait. And my expectation is that the energy committees, or other relevant committees, in both the House and the Senate, are going to be moving forward a strong energy package. It'll be authorized. We'll get it done. And I will sign it."
Though perhaps inspiring, his finely honed politician-speak allowed him to evade further concrete details on his plan—Obama offered no timeline, and offered now firm response about how much he'd be willing to compromise on his bill. He did, however, mention that he would make 'regional' considerations to states whose economies were more dependent on the dirty energy or heavy polluting industries.
Thankfully, Obama's enthusiasm is matched in Rep. Henry Waxman (D - CA), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who is at this very minute drafting a cap and trade bill with the model laid out in Obama's budget in mind. Huge, huge hurdles still remain--including skeptical moderate Democrats and staunchly opposed Republicans.
Could 2009 be the year we finally see a cap and trade get signed into law? My remaining Hope-charged endorphins say yes, but my always-cynical gut is leaning towards no . . .
More on Obama Climate Bill:
Obama's Cap and Trade Would Generate $645 Billion in "Climate Revenue"
Will Obama's Cap-and-Trade Ideas Survive a Gauntlet of Lobbyists?
The TH Interview: Andy Revkin— Climate in the Obama Age