Waxman Bypasses Political Obstacles To Move Forward With Global Warming Bill

Posted on Wed 05/06/2009 by


Nick Loris.

If you cannot agree on something, go forward with it anyway. Is that how our founding fathers intended the political process to work? From Politico:

“Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman plans to fast-track his controversial climate change bill, bypassing the political hurdles of the subcommittee.

‘I’m still holding firm on my deadline to get a bill out of committee by the end of May and I believe that will probably require us to go right to the full committee and bypass the subcommittee,’ Waxman told reporters.

Democrats on the committee said the expedited timeline was necessary to pass a bill out of committee by the Memorial Day recess – a deadline set by Waxman and encouraged by the administration, which wants the committee to be ready to move on to health care reform this summer.

Fast tracking this bill also has some political advantages. The subcommittee is a tougher battleground than the full committee, largely due to its geographically diverse makeup and tighter margin.”

The mark up of the bill is now scheduled for next week. Passed legislation should not be set by an artificial deadline. We elect Members of Congress for a reason: to debate and carefully analyze legislation to fully understand the consequences. If this bill were so cut and dry, it would be an easy decision but the fact that Democrats and Republicans alike have serious reservations should tell us something.

Put simply, there’s a lot wrong with it and that’s most evidenced by its high economic costs. Recent Congressional Budget Office testimony that a 15 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, a target that the Waxman-Markey proposal would reach within a decade, was estimated to cost the average household $1,600 per year.

Although President Obama initially pushed for a 100 percent auction with the proceeds to be given back to the people in the form of a tax cut, House Democrat Gene Green responded:

“I have five refineries in my district and a lot of chemical plants. And even a middle-class tax cut to someone who doesn’t have a job doesn’t help.”

Others want a certain portion of the emission allowances to be free while gradually phasing in an auction system, but this has its problems, too, as noted by Natural Resources Defense Council’s David Doniger:

“You just can’t give power generators a lot of free allowances, no strings attached. They just end up with huge windfalls.”

Marketplace’s Sarah Gardner goes on to say, “Doniger points to Europe as an example. It gave away lots of free carbon allowances. Utilities there pocketed billions by raising electricity rates anyway and selling off excess permits.”

So, in a race to “save the planet”, Chairman Waxman thinks circumventing the system is the fastest way to get there. One thing’s for sure: The loser of this race will be the American consumer. The only thing the Waxman-Markey bill will do is make sure we get there faster.

Contributing Author Nick Loris writes at The Heritage Foundation and he is a Research Assistant at The Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies.

Read more informative articles at Heritage – The Foundry.