Well, looks like we managed to bolix that one up pretty well.
Several posts during the past week, and countless ones elsewhere, have asked people to support the Energy Bill making its way through Congress. Some people have no problem with one of its major provisions, which calls for substantially expanding the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) -- the regulation that requires minimum amounts of ethanol, biodiesel, or other biofuels to be incorporated into the volume of transport fuels used each year. Indeed, some would even welcome the prospect. Many others do not like the idea, but seem to feel that it is a price worth paying in order to preserve solar investment tax credits as well as production tax credits for large-scale renewable projects. (A national Renewable Electricity Standard has already been dropped from the bill.) Some of those people then argue, in effect, we can always go back and repeal the RFS next year. Next joke.
I took part this evening in a short conference call with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and a few other bloggers. It got a bit heated. He passionately defended the Senate’s accomplishments and urged critics to acknowledge the difficult position Congress is in at the moment, with the omnibus budget bill approaching. First, I asked him the question on everyone’s mind: Why not actually make the Republicans filibuster? Bill after bill keeps failing because it can’t get to 60 votes for cloture, but Republicans never have to take a public stand behind their obstructionism. Kerry responded with clear frustration (it obviously …
The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed an energy bill that would raise auto fuel-economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 — but only after a more ambitious version of the bill ran into a roadblock. The more ambitious version, which the House passed last week, got a thumbs-up from 59 senators — a handful of Republicans as well as all of the Democrats except Mary Landrieu from oil-friendly Louisiana — but that was still one vote shy of the 60 needed to get it past a threatened filibuster. To push the bill through, Democratic leaders in the Senate …
The White House just released a statement saying that the president will sign the just-passed energy bill into law: Last January, President Bush called on Congress to reduce our nation’s consumption of gasoline by 20 percent in 10 years by modernizing CAFE standards and greatly expanding the use of alternative fuels. We congratulate the United States Senate for their effort to address the challenge of the President’s bold “20 in 10″ initiative. The Senate energy plan will update CAFE standards and enhance the use of renewable fuels. By addressing the concerns of the Administration and moving forward with a bipartisan …
Here's the official roll call (the names won't be up for a few minutes yet). A bittersweet day, to say the least.
The bill passes 86 to 8. Again, I will post the full Roll Call when it's posted on the Senate website shortly.
Roll call is still going on, and the thing has gone way over the top. For whatever reason, when Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) was called, and voted no, it rang in my ear. So I went and checked, and sure enough, she's switched her vote. Not sure what animated her. The Michigan thing? Not being able to say she supported a CAFE bill because of its renewable energy requirements? Others may have switched. I'll post the full roll call when it's up.
Ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources committee Pete Domenici (R-NM) just stated strong support for the bill, after voting to kill the much better version. Domenici is as responsible as any single person for blocking the renewable energy provisions in the version of the bill sent up from the House. He deserves maximum raspberries today.
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