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Friday, June 06, 2008

Hooray for the Filibuster and the U.S. Senate

A big thumbs up to Republicans and four Democrats in the U.S. Senate today. They worked together to block a bill meant to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, but would have inflicted massive costs of U.S. consumers, entrepreneurs, investors, businesses and economy.

The Democratic leadership in the Senate fell a dozen votes shy of overcoming a Republican filibuster.

SBE Council strongly opposed the bill, as noted in the latest letter on the issue sent to the U.S. Senate on June 4. SBE President & CEO Karen Kerrigan wrote: “S.3036 has the potential to be the single largest, most intrusive regulatory legislation in our nation's history. The size, scope and costs of S.3036 are vast, and we know there will be unintended consequences from a bill of this magnitude and complexity.”

An Associated Press story noted: “The 48-36 vote fell short of a majority, but Democrats produced letters from six senators — including both presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — saying they would have voted for the measure had they been there.”

But obviously this is just one battle in a much longer war, especially given the support for a regulatory cap-and-trade scheme from both major party presidential candidates. AP went on to report:

"It's just the beginning for us," proclaimed Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a chief sponsor of the bill, noting that 54 senators had expressed support of the legislation, although that's still short of what would be needed to overcome concerted GOP opposition.

"It's clear a majority of Congress wants to act," Boxer said at a news conference.
She and other Democrats said this now lays the groundwork for action on climate change next year with a new Congress and a new president that will be more hospitable to mandatory greenhouse gas reductions.

Both Obama and McCain have called for capping carbon dioxide and other emissions linked to climate change. President Bush has opposed such measures and said he would have vetoed the Senate bill if he had received it.

The bill would have capped carbon dioxide coming from power plants, refineries and factories, with a target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent by mid-century.

"It's a huge tax increase," argued Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a prominent coal-producing state. He maintained that the proposed system of allowing widespread trading of carbon emissions allowances would produce "the largest restructuring of the American economy since the New Deal."

McConnell is absolutely correct.

As energy costs skyrocket, Congress and the two presumptive presidential nominees are pushing regulation that will push energy costs even higher. Let’s hope enough U.S. senators stick around in the next Congress to fight off this grossly misguided and destructive effort.

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