Photo via Schema Root
Well, just as soon as senators had plunged into committee hearings about crafting a parallel climate bill to the House's recently passed Waxman-Markey, they've decided to put if off. Could it be, as Sen. Boxer says, that it's been pushed back so that senators could focus on national health care reform? Or because it's going to be tough to pass, and more time needs to go into crafting negotiations? Or could it be that a terrifying "firestorm of opposition" that "arose from across the country this week," has sent the Democrats running for cover?That's what Sen. Inhofe has charged, at least. Though I certainly haven't noticed any such firestorm sweeping the country over the last week, unless you count a smattering of climate change-denying, 'no big government' comments on blog posts as a firestorm. James Inhofe, who made the fiery statement, is himself perhaps the most vocal climate change-denying politician currently in office--so such a statement is pretty much to be expected.
Whether there's a nationwide fireball of disagreement or not (polls show there most certainly is not), however, the delay does reveal the difficulty the bill is going to face in the Senate. According to Politico:
Southern and Midwestern Democrats have a long list of concerns about the bill's electricity, agriculture, and cap and trade provisions. A version of the climate bill narrowly passed the House last month, after administration officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressured a group of skeptical Democrats to vote for the legislation. In the Senate, it won't be nearly as easy to twist arms, and floor time will remain a major problem.Thus, Majority Leader Harry Reid realized that the bill was going to take longer than expected to 'finesse' through committee, so he pushed the bill's deadline back until September 28th. This could give some time for baseless claims that the bill will cost Americans thousands of dollars a year to subside, and the 'biggest tax ever' talk to die down some--though it'll certainly be reprised come September. And we can expect good ol' Inhofe to be leading the charge once again, making brazen claims that there's a hurricane of resistance or a heatwave of defiance against passing a climate bill--even though the vast majority of Americans are in favor of passing a law to curb carbon emissions.
The Ranking Member on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and a long-time climate skeptic, Inhofe said, "So with this delay, the public should expect more arm-twisting and backroom deals - or, in other words, more business as usual in Washington. The American public can rest assured that I will be here, as I have done over the past 10 years, to expose the details of this devastating bill every step of the way."Indeed. And no, the irony isn't lost on anyone that that the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee is a climate change denier. Alas, the process will certainly be difficult, fragile, and tedious--let's just hope there's not another monsoon of antagonism rising out of America to delay a climate bill yet again.