Today was an important day for the energy bill. Sort of. The entire Democratic Senate caucus met to discuss how to move forward on climate and energy. Kerry, Bingaman, and Cantwell all presented — and argued for — their respective bills. (They made videos, too — Kerry’s; Cantwell’s.) The intent was to make some kind of decision about whether to continue to fight for a climate provision (a price on carbon) or accept its loss and move forward with the strongest energy bill possible. An historic moment!
The result, according to Darren Samuelsohn? “No clear consensus.” Shocking. “Reid insisted that he had made no decisions.” Knock me over with a feather! “Senators spoke for so long that they had to bump back a more detailed question-and-answer session for another meeting that’s tentatively scheduled for next week.” Sigh.
If you want to know the sheer level of mendacity and incoherence Kerry and his allies are trying to overcome, get a load of this:
“The Senate should be focusing on the immediate issues before us — to suspend EPA action on greenhouse gas emissions, push clean coal technologies, and tackle the Gulf oil spill,” Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said. “We need to set aside controversial and more far-reaching climate proposals and work right now on energy legislation that protects our economy, protects West Virginia and improves our environment.”
Reid on Wednesday told reporters he planned to allow a floor vote this year on Rockefeller’s legislation that would force a two-year freeze on EPA climate rules for power plants and other stationary sources.
“This bill is needed as soon as possible — not only to guarantee that Congress, rather than an unelected regulatory agency, sets our national energy policy, but also to make sure that in this very fragile economic recovery, our manufacturing and energy sectors are able to grow and create jobs,” Rockefeller said.
Got that? Congress shouldn’t focus on the controversial task of regulating CO2. Instead, it should turn to blocking EPA’s ability to regulate CO2 … so that Congress, instead of a regulatory agency, can regulate CO2. But not yet.
It’s incoherent on its face, just a transparent bid to protect his campaign contributors in the coal industry.
And he’s not alone. I haven’t seen a single “centrist” Dem senator make a substantive case for why we shouldn’t cap carbon now. They all want to avoid it because it’s “controversial” or “doesn’t have the votes.” They’re all acting like pundits, commenting on Senate realities as though they are not creating those realities. It’s absurd. If you think we should cap carbon, say so. If not, say so. Nobody needs another cut-rate pundit echoing conventional wisdom back and forth in an endless Beltway circle jerk.
Honestly, I’m running out of ways to express my contempt for the U.S. Senate. I can’t wait until this bill is done with so I can think about something else for a while, like decent human beings who recognize moral obligations to their descendents for instance.