Contact: Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797
Kerry-Lieberman, Here We Go Again
If you've been watching the global warming debate of late, you will notice that supporters of cap-and-trade are getting anxious. They realize that the political environment for cap-and-trade couldn't be more favorable: liberals control the House, liberals control the Senate, and liberals control the White House. But they also realize that time is running out: the November elections are looming, the legislative calendar is shrinking. As Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.) put it, this is "the last call" to pass a bill.
That's exactly what Sen. Kerry is trying to do. But he won't get 60 votes; he won't get support from Democrats in the Heartland; and he won't convince the American public that they need a massive new energy tax. I say this with confidence because the bill Sen. Kerry introduced last week with Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.) is the same old cap-and-trade scheme the Senate rejected in the McCain-Lieberman bill in 2003, the McCain-Lieberman bill in 2005, the Lieberman-Warner bill in 2008, and the Waxman Markey bill in 2009.
And don't forget that, in the Senate, support for cap-and-trade over that time actually dropped. In 2003, they got 43; in 2005, they got 38; and in 2008, with Lieberman-Warner, they got 48. Now remember here, just after the cloture vote on Lieberman-Warner, 10 Democrats, 9 of whom voted for cloture, very quietly sent a letter stating that they could not vote for Lieberman-Warner "in its current form." So subtract 9, and you get 39 votes. That's a far cry from 60.
Kerry-Lieberman is not going to pass. However, for those who still believe that anthropogenic gases cause catastrophic global warming-which I don't-but even if you do, none of the above bills will meaningfully reduce CO2 concentrations. In a Senate EPW hearing last July, I asked Obama EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson if any of the global warming bills under consideration would reduce CO2 concentrations. Administrator Jackson said that without China and India, unilateral US action would amount to little.
And I have to say that I have a great deal of respect for Lisa Jackson. Not only was she honest about the effect of the above bills, but she's been very helpful in responding to the oil spills.
So here we go again. Just look closely at the Kerry-Lieberman bill. I'm sure you've seen it before. This is the Waxman-Markey bill. Remember that bill? It passed the House last summer in the dead of night, after Democratic leaders cut deals on the floor to assure passage. It barely passed-the vote was 219 to 212-and 44 Democrats voted against it.
Those Democrats voted ‘no' because they knew the costs of the bill. Waxman-Markey, according to the National Black Chamber of Commerce, would lead to a net reduction of 3.6 million jobs, raise electricity rates by 48 percent, and disproportionately affect the Midwest, the South, and the Great Plains, which rely heavily on fossil fuels.
The word on Waxman-Markey spread across the country, and the American people were listening. Citizens at town hall meetings expressed outrage. They said ‘no' to a bill that would give government control over how we use electricity and how we live every day of our lives.
That's what they'd get with Kerry-Lieberman. And they'd also get a so-called "linked fee" for transportation fuels. "Linked fee"? That's Washington speak for a gas tax. From what I understand, this tax is being pushed by a select group of Big Oil companies. I think the public needs to know that. Those companies are pushing a tax that they know will be paid by consumers-the same consumers suffering from an economy with nearly 10 percent unemployment. I will make myself clear: I stand with consumers, and by that I mean farmers, families, truckers, businesses (large and small), and rural Americans who drive long distances. They don't need this tax, now or ever.
Along with this tax, there are other provisions crafted with select business groups. I just want to ask these groups: do you think a bill with cap-and-trade and a gas tax is good for the economy, is good for your members, is good for workers, is good for consumers? Don't forget what happened with Waxman-Markey: some utilities thought they had a deal, but when the language was actually drafted, the deal made Waxman and Markey happy, but not the utilities.
I just want to remind my colleagues of the pattern here. We had the Waxman-Markey vote under the cover of night; we had the Cornhusker Kickback with the Senate health care bill; now we have secret meetings with stakeholders and CEOs. There's a sense that what they're doing has little support with the American people. They're hiding and obscuring and evading.
But I suppose I can't blame them. Remember August of last year? That was the beginning of the town hall revolt, in which citizens from across the country made clear their bitter opposition to cap-and-trade and Waxman-Markey. Let's keep in mind the town hall revolt took placed during the 09 August recess. These great Americans were protesting four things:
1) Runaway spending and deficits...increasing the deficit by 1.4 trillion in one year, which all of America knows is unsustainable.
2) The second issue of protest by the tea partiers during the August recess was a government-run health care system.
3) The third issue of protest was the closing of Guantanamo bay, or GITMO, which would cause us to absorb terrorists into the United States for either incarceration or trial. It's still inconceivable that we have a President who is obsessed with bringing these terrorists into the United States.
4) And of course the fourth issue of protest was cap-and-trade, which would produce the largest tax increase in American history.
I will always say that the most egregious vote in the Senate's history occurred in 2008; it was the $700 billion bailout. As bad as that was, at least it was only a one-shot deal. A cap-and-trade bill like McCain-Lieberman, Lieberman-Warner or Kerry-Lieberman would be a tax every year.
That opposition has only grown stronger and more intense. Thus the backroom dealing and secret deals to get 60 votes. They can try as they might, but it won't work.
And I should note that, if Kerry-Lieberman were successful in passing-- which it won't be-it would go to conference with the Waxman-Markey bill. That's right, if this bill passed, then Waxman-Markey lives.
We still have a liberal press that is in denial. Last Friday in the USA Today, there was an article about lizards becoming extinct as a result of global warming. We still see stories like this one, that just assume that catastrophic global warming is taking place, which it is not.
Today I should have been in Chicago speaking at the Heartland Institute's climate conference, but because we have votes, I am speaking on the floor. I want to thank my former staffer Marc Morano, who will be speaking at the event, for his efforts in exposing global warming alarmism. Today, on his website ClimateDepot.com, he highlighted a renowned geologist who notes in a recent paper that we are heading into global cooling.
Over the next several weeks, I will be speaking on EPA's so-called tailoring rule, which exempts certain small sources from greenhouse gas regulation under the Clean Air Act. That rule is illegal, and it will be thrown out by the courts, which means that schools, hospitals, Wal-Marts, nursing homes-you name it-will be regulated by EPA. This is the entire American economy we're talking about here.
Along with the tailoring rule, I will continue to point out that EPA's endangerment finding is based on the IPCC's flawed science. The American people need to know that EPA simply took what the IPCC gave them and then rubber stamped it. EPA wasn't expecting climategate or the uncovering of all the IPCC's errors from its 4th Assessment Report.
The only way we can deal with this endangerment finding is for Congress to overturn it, along all of the global warming alarmism that inspired it in the first place.