Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 10, 2010

SENATE REJECTS 'BIG OIL BAILOUT' -- BARELY.... The very idea was absurd. The government is going to have to regulate carbon emissions to combat global warming, and if Congress refuses to act, the Environmental Protection Agency can use the Clean Air Act to move forward.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), working with oil company lobbyists, crafted a scheme to deal with the problem a different way -- push a rarely-used tactic through the Senate that would strip the EPA of its authority to act. The idea, known in some corners as Murkowski's "Big Oil Bailout," would allow Republicans to block Congress from tackling the problem and block the administration from taking any action.

The gambit needed 51 votes. It came just a few votes short.

The final roll call was 47 to 53. Every single Republican -- including so-called moderates Snowe, Collins, and Brown -- voted against science, against the environment, and for Murkowski's scheme. They were joined by a few too many Democrats, including Sens. Bayh, Rockefeller, Pryor, Landrieu, Lincoln and Ben Nelson.

The argument pushed by Murkowski and her allies was that the power to act should rest in the hands of lawmakers, not EPA officials. (It was a rather pathetic argument from those who don't want lawmakers to act, either.) But immediately after the measure failed, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) called their bluff: if they think lawmakers should take the lead, now's their chance to play a constructive role in passing a comprehensive climate/energy bill.

[Kerry and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)] called on those who supported today's measure to strip greenhouse gas regulation authority from the EPA to step up and support the American Power Act.

"The Senate made the right decision today but the big question is what comes now. Many supporters of the Murkowski resolution argued passionately that climate change is real but that addressing it is a job for Congress not the EPA. We hope they will now engage with us to pass our pro-business, pro-jobs approach so the EPA doesn't have to do the job that the Senate has failed to do," the Senators said in a joint statement. "We have an unprecedented coalition of business supporters standing behind our bill, including many who have successfully killed previous legislation. They know that the American Power Act is not your grandfather's climate bill. It contains business incentives and provisions that non-partisan analysts agree will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, protect consumers, and put us on a path towards energy independence. Now we face a test of whether the Senate can do what even the Murkowski resolution's proponents said we should be doing."

That's a very good message. I'm just skeptical about its efficacy.

Today's vote was heartening, to the extent that a ridiculous idea failed. But the margin points in a very discouraging direction -- Republicans will block any and all legislation related to global warming, and demand a 60-vote majority. As of today, not one GOP senator is prepared to do their duty and take this issue seriously. Literally, not one.

I'm delighted Murkowski's "Big Oil Bailout" failed, but I'm hard pressed to imagine how supporters of evidence, science, and common sense will navigate the road forward.

Steve Benen 4:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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60 votes and a donkey

Ain't it amazing the way those Republicans can find a way past the 60 vote filibuster and the Democrat's can't. It's almost enough to make one think the game is rigged...

Posted by: koreyel on June 10, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Are they freakin' INSANE???

Posted by: SYSPROG on June 10, 2010 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Get-Rid-of-the-Carbon Dioxide Bill:

We will put gigantic fans on the equator, blowing both north and south. The fans will blow the carbon dioxide away so that it falls off the edge of the earth. When the sun goes below the horizon on its circuit around the earth it will burn up all the carbon dioxide.

Oh, and Drill Baby, Drill!

Posted by: SteveT on June 10, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

We could always just do a compromise bill that strips the EPA of the right to regulate carbon dioxide, and at the same time institutes a cap and trade regulatory regime so that the EPA does not need to come up with rules for carbon dioxide.

You know. If the Republicans meant anything they ever said.

Posted by: mcc on June 10, 2010 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, what about using the EPA as a stick? If the EPA comes out with VERY draconian restrictions/regulations, the energy companies might lobby senators to pass something.

Posted by: fiitzwili on June 10, 2010 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

OK. I'm confused. I thought the new normal was 60 votes for everything; or is it only Democrats that have to 60 votes? Republicans still only need simple majorities?

Posted by: bcinaz on June 10, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

As of today, not one GOP senator is prepared to do their duty and take this issue seriously.

Not this issue, nor any other. The fact is they don't intend to take any of their duties seriously, period, save one: protecting their friends in corporate America and Wall Street. They really aren't even pretending any more; they truly don't give a shit about what's happening to the country or anyone in it. Why so many voters can't see and understand that, especially when the blatant corruption is on full display like this, is beyond me.

Posted by: electrolite on June 10, 2010 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

First of all it is pretty clear that republicans remain faithful to their party , right or wrong . The unkindness of a comment that the republicans are not infinitesimally committed to what they say , is garish , in the light of their courageous , leonine fidelity .
Secondly it must be a pretty primitive mind that cannot speculate the use of available resources and help wean the equatorial states and seas of an oil dependency by merely using fans to blow the carbon dioxode off the edge of , our mother , the Earth . Where are the windmills ? Yes they can . Because the lower hemisphere is a physical mirror to its northern sister a series of opposite but equal windmills could be set up as a dutch tunnel to carefully target the enemy air . Then when the Sun wasn't busy he could be persuaded with proper sacrifices of choice bulls to lay into solar powered fans set up in a series of clockwise and counterclockwise patterns , to confuse rhe enemy air .
Thats victory , my friends , does that taste different from the diffident and angst ridden extremist greenies , my friends ?
You Betcha

Posted by: FRP on June 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Blanche ... Obama's people, big blue doggies Bill, etc. should not be promoting that hack. It just sticks ...

Posted by: neil b on June 10, 2010 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Neil, 59-1=58. Is that good? That ain't good.

Lincoln and every one of those Dems voted for health care. The White House and the leadership haven't even begun to twist arms on this.

I'm not ready to give up on the Climate bill, but I sure as hell would be if all of those Democratic yes votes were Republicans.

Pop Quiz: Which of these senators does NOT come from a state carried by John McCain against Barack Obama. Hint: there's only one.

59-6 = 53. Is that good? That ain't good.

Posted by: Steve High on June 10, 2010 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

They were joined by a few too many Democrats, including Sens. Bayh, Rockefeller, Pryor, Landrieu, Lincoln and Ben Nelson.

Well done, Arkansas Democratic primary voters, well done.

Posted by: David Bailey on June 10, 2010 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

This BP oil disaster in the Gulf represents a toxic chemical WMD attack on the United States of America, and all this BP oil gushing into the Gulf waters and onto America's shores definitely qualifies as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

And the culture of corruption Republicans, along with some corporatist Blue Dog Democrats, fully support the "terrorists" responsible for this toxic chemical WMD attack on America. Traitors. Tarring and feathering them (like a tarred-cover pelican) is too good for them.

Posted by: The Oracle on June 10, 2010 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Let Lincoln lose. Better to know who the enemy is, than to be stabbed in the back by this traitor bitch.

Posted by: TCinLA on June 11, 2010 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Republican congresspeople are simply holding legislative seats and preventing people who would actually do something from sitting in them. It's just a nasty game of "Keep Away" where the object being kept away is the future.

Posted by: chrenson on June 11, 2010 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

Credit card rules changed mostly for the better for consumers as I understand because now credit card companies have to notify us before they change rates. Also they cant change rates before 60 days.. am I correct? Well, regardless, due to before the laws changed I am still in debt and definitely need debt relief. Debt Free Counselor gives free consultations for any consumers with financial and medical hardship and they have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Posted by: Credit Debt on November 1, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK



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