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Cap-and-Trade or Duck-and-Hide?

The squeaker vote on cap-and-trade has proven so popular in the Senate and the president’s words of encouragement so compelling that liberal Sen. Barabara Boxer is burying it — maybe forever. This report explains:

President Barack Obama’s push for quick action by Congress on climate change legislation suffered a setback on Thursday when the U.S. Senate committee leading the drive delayed work on the bill until September.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer said her self-imposed deadline of early August for finishing writing a bill to combat global warming has been put off until after Congress returns from a recess that ends in early September.

“We’ll do it as soon as we get back” from that break, Boxer told reporters. Asked if this delay jeopardizes chances the Senate will pass a bill this year, Boxer said, “Not a bit … we’ll be in (session) until Christmas, so I’m not worried about it.”
But Boxer did not guarantee Congress will be able to finish a bill and deliver it to Obama by December, when he plans to attend an international summit on climate change in Copenhagen.

By December we will see how attractive a massive energy tax would be. (Talk about a lump of coal in your stocking.) But Boxer is smart to shove this off to the side. Democrats who cast a hard vote in the House and are now being pummeled by conservatives, business and taxpayer groups, and potential opponents (as are the Republican Eight who are in the dog house with the base). Those who supported cap-and-trade despite warnings about job losses and the adverse impact on the already struggling economy (especially in energy-producing states) are finding little support for having placed a pet issue on the liberal wish-list ahead of their constituents’ economic interests. Then the G-8 didn’t help matters either. And really, if the EPA’s own administrator says it will have no effect on climate, what’s the point of the whole exercise?

So this may turn out to be the worst of all worlds for the Democratic House leadership and the White House, who forced vulnerable members to walk the plank for nothing. Environmental groups will be furious if large Democratic majorities and a Democratic president can’t deliver. And yet those members who tried to deliver will be tagged by opponents in 2010 as disregarding bread-and-butter concerns during a recession.

Sometimes it pays to just say “no.”


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