Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 14, 2010

MAKING TIME FOR ENERGY.... President Obama hosted a White House meeting yesterday with Senate Democratic leaders, exploring what can and should be passed over the next two weeks. There was agreement on three measures to be completed before lawmakers break for their August recess: (1) Wall Street reform, which should pass tomorrow; (2) extending unemployment benefits, which will likely pass on Tuesday; and (3) tax breaks intended to boost small-business lending.

Based on accounts, the discussion focused on the very short-term, and a pending energy/climate bill was not part of the meeting. But that doesn't mean the issue is dead, only that it won't be finished before lawmakers break for August.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday that work on the energy bill will begin before the recess -- probably the week of the 26th -- to be completed when lawmakers return. But that's not until Sept. 13, and the schedule will be very crowded, especially with the Kagan nomination and spending bills for the wars on deck.

Today, President Obama signaled his desire to make sure the energy bill doesn't slip through the cracks.

President Obama has invited select Democratic senators to join him for lunch at the White House on Wednesday to talk about energy legislation as he and Senate Democrats resolve to make a strong push to pass a bill before the August recess, according to an official briefed on the situation.

The White House also added to Mr. Obama's schedule on Wednesday an afternoon meeting with former President Bill Clinton and business leaders to discuss job creation and ways to make new investments in clean energy.

The hope, apparently, is to keep cap-and-trade so narrow, some Republican votes -- specifically Lindsey Graham, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown -- might be in play, at least enough to let the Senate have an up-or-down vote.

How narrow? Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are circulating the latest draft of their cap-and-trade measure, which has been scaled back to the much-discussed "utilities only" approach. Andrew Restuccia has a copy of the language making the rounds.

As for the rest of the possible legislative wish list, it's probably safe to assume that immigration reform will not make any progress for the rest of this session.

Steve Benen 3:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (6)

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I think this is great: we should put a strong bill up...be prepared to lose, and take that contrast to the voters relentlessly, along with unemployment insurance.

Basically, D's need to use unemployment and something else - like climate/energy -- to pivot to offense thru election day.

Posted by: Wellington R. Smythe on July 14, 2010 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Why does the White House not put more emphasis on the job-creation potential of alternative energy sources?

For instance, how many thousands of people could be put to work building and maintaining roof-top solar systems?

This legislating solely with an eye to the short-term electoral consequences is clearly not working. Democrats can't -- and shouldn't -- out-crazy Republicans, but if they made a case for real long-term job creation we would all be a lot better off.

Posted by: karen marie on July 14, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

"especially with the Kagan nomination and spending bills for the wars on deck"

Don't forget: "spending bills for the wars" includes the DADT vote. Don't expect that one to go by quietly or without a bunch of time-consuming delay tactics.

Posted by: mcc on July 14, 2010 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be happy with cap-and-trade for the utilities. They're 50% of the carbon emissions, there's relatively cheap technologies to deal with point source emissions. Even shifting from coal to natural gas is a big win carbon-wise.

Posted by: Sock Puppet of the Great Satan on July 14, 2010 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Great idea, Wellington R!

Let's keep losing from now until Election Day, and then, somehow, miraculously, through the divine intervention of the spaghetti monster from space, I'm sure we'll win the Elections!

Write up an action memo! And stick it up your ass!

Posted by: cr on July 14, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems. & Reps. get nowhere. Why do we pay them? They'll be busy taking TIME off to run for reelection. That surely needs reform.
Why not have national referendums? The citizens could vote on energy reform, conservation of energy, more efficient cars, more train cargo instead of long haul trucks. There has to be a better way than the political posturizing that Congress engages in, like a bunch of sassy roosters!

Posted by: KateNJ on July 27, 2010 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK



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