As expected, President Obama met with 36 key House Democrats at theWhite House this morning to shore up support for the embattledWaxman-Markey energy bill, reports the Associated Press.
While Dems left the meeting rallying around a “cash for clunkers”program, there is still no consensus on that side of the aisle abouthow, or if, to create a cap-and-trade system that would reducegreehouse gas emissions, by making polluting energy sources (mainlycoal) pay for the damage their products cause.
Such a system is popular with people concerned about global warming,but it also has support from the green energy industry (includingsolar). That’s in part because cap-and-trade would help makeelectricity generated through clean energy reach “grid parity” — priceequivalence — with traditional polluting sources.
House majority leader Steny Hoyer told Reuters that even among Democrats there is “not a consensus at this time” on cap-and-trade.
Opposition by Democrats, however, is the least of the problems facing the bill.
Some Republicans see a less-than-united-front among Democratic as arare political opportunity to exploit. Texas Republican Joe Barton hasspoken gleefully about the “mass chaos” surrounding the bill,writes E&E reporter Darren Samuelsohn. And the committee’s rankingRepublican, Fred Upton (Mich), declared, “You’re not going to get thevotes on our side with a cap-and-trade tax, period.”
E&E recently ran sidebargiving their own prediction on how subcommittee members would likelyvote on Waxman-Markey bill. All eleven predicted “Yes” votes areDemocrats. All the thirteen “No” votes are Republicans. And of thedozen members in the “Maybe” category, all are Democrats, except one.The lone Republican is Mary Bono Mack, of California, who has scheduled a hearing for next Monday to push for expanding solar power projects on federal land.
Otherwise, the Republicans are looking more and more like the partyof “No,” marginalizing themselves even further in the process. But tomove the country forward in this critical area, Democrats will have toprove they are the party of “Yes” — not the party of “Maybe.”