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So Many Walked the Plank For Nothing?

It looks like cap-and-trade is running into considerable resistance in the Senate — from Democrats. Politico reports:

We’ve got to be very careful with what we do with this legislation,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a near-constant cable surrogate during Obama’s presidential campaign, told Missouri talk radio show host Mike Ferguson last week. “We need to be a leader in the world, but we don’t want to be a sucker.”   When it comes to climate change, McCaskill and other Midwestern Democrats are putting their home-state concerns ahead of one of the president’s biggest first-year priorities; many of them fear that the legislation, which narrowly passed the House earlier this month, will hurt manufacturing- and coal-dependent areas that are already struggling.

Others are voicing similar sentiments, according to The Hill:

Both Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) say they are skeptical of the climate change bill that passed the House last month. The legislation has an uncertain future in the Senate, and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced on Thursday that she is delaying the bill until after the August recess. Brown, Lincoln and other Democrats say the reluctance of China and India to agree to emission restrictions clearly complicates the party’s effort to pass the bill, given the likelihood that Republicans will lock down against it. Brown said it will naturally be difficult to persuade the public to support a bill that could increase costs for businesses if there’s a fear competition in China will gain an advantage.

When you add in the two senators from Iowa as well as Robert Byrd and consider how other Midwestern senators (e.g. Evan Bayh) would be hammered back home if they supported the jumbo energy-tax, you begin to wonder if there is even a bare majority for this.

So does Sen. Barbara Boxer delay the bill and bury it in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee? Or does she force it to the floor and put the screws on her colleagues? If she does the latter, they will have to either vote against the president or imperil their own electoral position with voters who can’t quite figure out why we would further burden employers in their states and raise their energy bills while we are bleeding jobs. But if the Senate is spared the vote, then the House Democrats and the Republican Eight who voted for it will have to suffer retribution for rushing through an ill-conceived bill that so tramples on the interests of their constituents that the Senate wouldn’t touch it.

However this turns out, the decision by Nancy Pelosi to jam a vote through by a narrow margin and get a legislative “win” is looking like the worst vote of the year. Well, other than the vote on the  $787B non-stimulus plan, of course.



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