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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cap and Trade on the Ropes?

According to Bloomberg, four DEMOCRATIC Senators have publicly come out against cap and trade.

The U.S. Senate should abandon efforts to pass legislation curbing greenhouse-gas emissions this year and concentrate on a narrower bill to require use of renewable energy, four Democratic lawmakers say.

“The problem of doing both of them together is that it becomes too big of a lift,” Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas said in an interview last week. “I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem.”

The resistance by Lincoln and her Senate colleagues undercuts President Barack Obama’s effort to win passage of legislation that would cap carbon dioxide emissions and establish a market for trading pollution allowances, said Peter Molinaro, the
head of government affairs for Midland, Michigan- based Dow Chemical Co., which
supports the measure.

The four Senators include Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Now, it's important to note that each of the four are either 1)moderates or 2) from red states or both (in the case of Nelson). The afforementioned Lincoln announced formation of 15 moderate Senators in March of this year. Here's a list of the group.

Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Tom Carper of Delaware

Everyone of these Senators is now ripe to join the four I already mentioned. Furthermore, Max Baucas and Jon Tester hail from the red state of Montana and Tim Johnson hails from the red state of North Dakota. This makes 18 Democratic Senators that are ripe to follow the four already against cap and trade.

I don't know if the Democrats are planning on using the so called reconciliation option to pass cap and trade. (reconciliation is a budget tactic that allows the Senate t pass a bill with 50 votes rather than 60) At this point, I don't think they could get 50 votes at this point either way.

It's also, in my opinion, not a coincidence that these four came out just as the main media story is the public rejection of health care reform at the town hall debates. While the Democratic leadership puts on a firm public face against this onslaught, it's clear that moderate and vulnerable members are feeling the heat. It appears these town hall protests will take anther victim and that victim will be the death of cap and trade along with health care reform.

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