"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Democrats Nervous About Reid & Obama Pushing Disastrous Cap-And-Tax Bill

July 15th, 2010 by mopns · No Comments

The New York Times reports today, “President Obama and Senate Democrats have decided to press ahead in the next two weeks with a scaled-back energy bill that limits carbon pollution by power plants but not by other industries in an effort to salvage the legislation before midterm elections. . . . ‘If not now, when?’ said Senator Harry M. Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, who plans to bring the compromise bill to the Senate floor the week of July 26.”

Well, according to Roll Call, there are plenty of Senate Democrats who might say the answer to Reid’s question is “not before November.” Roll Call writes, “With just a week and a half before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s planned energy debate, many Senators in the Democratic Conference are getting nervous that the Nevada Democrat is putting them in a politically perilous position for a bill that seems destined to be filibustered. Senators and aides said they are concerned that with so little time before floor action, Reid has yet to settle on either the policy or the political strategy for the package.”

More importantly, Roll Call points out, “[F]or Democrats up for re-election this year, the issue ­— in any form — appears to be a loser. ‘There are a lot of Members who aren’t enthusiastic about having energy hang over the August recess like health care hung over last year’s recess,’ one senior Senate Democratic aide said. . . . Sources said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — who is a part of Reid’s leadership team but is also facing a stiff challenge from Republican Dino Rossi this year — and vulnerable incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) have expressed doubts about taking up the energy issue this year. . . .  Democratic sources said a number of other Senators voiced concerns at Tuesday’s regular Democratic luncheon that the Conference should not try to take on big issues such as climate change this close to the midterm elections. Democrats privately say they are concerned that an energy debate before August will create a situation in which they will take fire from the left and the right — with environmental activists complaining the bill does not go far enough and conservatives claiming the majority is overreaching. Plus, they argue, an energy debate will detract from the issues that are foremost on Americans’ minds: job creation and the economy.  To top off their concerns, Democrats say a bill with any kind of cap-and-trade element will never secure the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster by Members of both parties, and given the partisan atmosphere of the Senate, many suggested that even a relatively modest bill would not survive a filibuster.”

So it seems rank-and-file Democrats, and at least one member of the Senate leadership, aren’t so eager for Barack Obama and Harry Reid to walk them into the disaster of an energy bill whose central provision would be a carbon cap-and-trade plan that amounts to a national energy tax. Even Reid himself appears to understand the toxic nature of this proposal, given his recent responses when reporters ask him about cap-and-trade. CNN noted Tuesday, “Reid wouldn’t answer a direct question about whether the bill would include a ‘cap on utility carbon emissions.’ ‘Those words are not in my vocabulary,’ he responded. ‘We’re going to work on pollution.’”

Democrats and the country would be better served by working to address the number one concern of Americans: creating jobs. The main effect a national energy tax would have on jobs would be to kill even more of them at a time where nearly one in ten Americans is out of work. The Democrats’ cap-and-tax scheme is a bad idea at any time, but it’s an especially bad one during a severe recession. Some Senate Democrats seem to understand this. Do Reid and Obama?

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