September 15, 2009

Cap-and-Trade: Run Over by the Healthcare Train?

Filed under: Climate Politics

President Obama’s risky perseveration on health care is running over another of his pet governmental expansions—cap-and-trade legislation sent by the House on June 26 for Senate consideration.

How soon we forget. By a squeaky 219-212 vote, the House rushed Congressman Waxman’s 1300-page opus out the door so the members could get back to the hustings for the Fourth of July. When many freshman democrats got home, those who voted for it experienced the first angry “town hall” of their careers. The blowback caused by Obamunism began over energy, not healthcare.

Obama is taking great risks with healthcare because he can’t cobble enough votes from his own party. About 50 congressmen won’t vote for anything with Public Option in it, while another 50 won’t vote for anything without it. There’s no doubt that this impasse is going to continue for some time.

Given that health care is bottled up in the house, why isn’t Obama pushing Cap and Trade in the Senate? Simple: the votes aren’t there. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), the new head of the Agriculture Committee calls cap-and-trade a “complete non starter” and said that it is not her “preference to move on cap and trade this year.”

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