Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202)224-9797
David Lungren David_Lungren@epw.senate.gov (202)224-5642
Inhofe to Kerry: Cap-and-Trade Is Defined As a ‘Tax, and A Great Big One’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today responded to remarks made by Senator John Kerry (D-MA), who said, “‘I don't know what 'cap and trade' means. I don't think the average American does,’ adding, ‘This is not a cap-and-trade bill, it's a pollution reduction bill.’" Senator Kerry's remarks come as Senator Kerry and Senator Boxer intend to introduce their cap-and-trade bill on Wednesday, September 30.
“I think the best way to help Sen. Kerry define cap-and-trade is to turn to Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), who said that cap-and-trade ‘is a tax, and a great big one,’” Sen. Inhofe said. “No matter the semantic games employed, or the extent to which Democrats wish to hide the truth from the American people, cap-and-trade will mean more job losses, more pain at the pump, and higher food and electricity prices for consumers.
“Despite the post-modern denial of ‘the truth’, in which words can mean whatever one chooses, the legislation on display next week will be cap-and-trade, pure and simple. And if the House Waxman-Markey bill is any guide, it will showcase a massive expansion of government mandates, spending, taxes, and energy rationing, all with meaningless effect on climate change.
“I hope we have an open, transparent, civil debate about cap-and-trade and energy security. It’s critical that we get this right, for in order to get America moving again, we need an abundant, reliable domestic energy supply that creates jobs and keeps energy prices affordable for businesses, consumers, and families."
Democrats' efforts to reframe the climate bill have been well documented over the past year, as we noted in the Inhofe EPW Press blog post The President’s New “Clean Energy Economy” Talking Points:
Don’t say “climate change” or “global warming,” or even worse, “cap-and-trade,” anymore; use “clean energy economy.” As the New York Times and LA Times have recently reported, the White House, concerned by the lack of support for their “cap-and-trade” initiatives, is using poll-tested talking points to help push one of the President’s biggest priorities:
“The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is ‘global warming.’ The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.” - New York Times, May 2, 2009
“Scratch 'cap and trade' and 'global warming,' Democratic pollsters tell Obama. They're ineffective…Control the language, politicians know, and you stand a better chance of controlling the debate. So the Obama administration, in its push to enact sweeping energy and healthcare policies, has begun refining the phrases it uses in an effort to shape public opinion. Words that have been vetted in focus groups and polls are seeping into the White House lexicon, while others considered too scary or confounding are falling away.” – LA Times, May 11, 2009
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