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

Dems Scramble After Amendment Introduced to Block EPA’s Back-Door Cap-And-Tax Regulations

March 16th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal editors wrote Tuesday, “Get a load of this. Some Members of Congress actually think that Congress should have a say in whether or not the government regulates carbon. Some of them even want to have a debate about it first.”

 Indeed, yesterday Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell introduced an amendment to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases without Congressional approval. “Imposing a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices,” Leader McConnell said. “Fourteen million Americans are looking for work. Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon. And the Obama administration wants unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats to impose new regulations that will destroy even more jobs – and drive gas prices even higher.” He added, “They’re attempting to do through regulation what they couldn’t do through legislation – regardless of whether the American people want it or not. . . . This is an insult to the millions of Americans who are already struggling to make ends meet or find a job.”

The New York Times reports that House Republicans moved a nearly identical bill out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday. “Moving on a central tenet of the Republican energy and environment platform, a House committee on Tuesday approved a measure to halt the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed program to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republican leaders promised a floor vote on the bill before the Easter recess. . .  The bill would repeal the E.P.A.’s finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases are a threat to human health and the environment and would bar the agency from imposing new rules to control them. Its Republican sponsors argue that new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from refineries, power plants and other major sources would drive up energy prices, depress the economy and hamper job creation.”

But it’s not just Republicans who understand this. Many Democrats have also acknowledged the serious problems with the EPA’s regulatory overreach. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the most vehement, saying in January, “No bureaucratic agency should be able to regulate what has not been legislated, especially when their actions jeopardize thousands of jobs.” And Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said last year, “The fact remains that allowing the EPA to make an end run around Congress and twist the Clean Air Act for this purpose would result in ever-changing regulations and uncertainty in the private investment market that would damage Louisiana’s already fragile economy . . . .”

That might explain in part why Politico reports that Senate Democrat leaders are having trouble organizing opposition to the McConnell amendment. “Senate Democrats are scrambling to combat a GOP-led offensive against the Obama administration’s climate regulations ahead of a possible Wednesday floor showdown. In a surprising move, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled Tuesday he would allow a floor vote on a Republican amendment to nullify the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. . . . Now, Reid and other top Senate Democrats who oppose the amendment are looking for ways to kill it. And they may have a tougher time than they expected, given the momentum after the Energy and Commerce vote and anti-EPA sentiment among moderate Senate Democrats. . .  Republicans think they’ve got a chance. A Senate GOP aide said Democrats appeared interested in letting it come up for a vote Tuesday night until they saw that the votes for blocking EPA were ‘within striking distance’ of 60. [Sen. Jim] Inhofe [R-OK] also suggested that Democrats pushed back the vote. He said he isn’t sure whether he’s got the votes to clear his bill, but, ‘I would think somebody thinks that, or they would have had the vote, I suspect.’”

And apparently, the White House is also worried about support for stopping the EPA from imposing costs through regulation that President Obama couldn’t get a Democrat-dominated Congress to authorize in the last two years. According to The Hill, “The White House is bashing a proposed Senate GOP amendment to small business legislation that would nullify the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. . . . The White House decision to weigh in directly on the amendment signifies the stakes of the escalating Republican-led effort to crush a major part of the Obama administration’s environmental agenda. . . . A majority vote for the amendment would be a political setback for advocates of EPA’s efforts to curb emissions, even if it fell short of the 60 needed for adoption. McConnell said in the Capitol Tuesday afternoon that he is ‘optimistic that there will be bipartisan support’ for the measure.”

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