Here’s what to look for as markup moves in to its second day
WASHINGTON, DC—Yesterday brought few surprises as opening statements began in the House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). Opponents of the bill complained about a lack of debate despite more than 40 days of hearings on the issue over the past two Congresses and continued to cite debunked talking points and statistics to try to stop progress on converting America to a clean energy economy. The bill’s supporters discussed the need to get our country off its addiction to foreign oil and create clean energy jobs in states across the country.
Five moderate Democrats announced their support for ACES, including John Dingell (MI), Gene Green (TX), Bobby Rush (IL), Bart Gordon (TN) and G.K. Butterfield (NC), as they recognized the many benefits this bill will bring to districts across the country. As the debate continues, more members are expected to announce their position on the bill.
Today, the committee moves to amendments, and watchers can expect to see more obstruction from the opposition in the form of hundreds of amendments designed to weaken the bill. As CAPAF’s Tom Kenworthy has noted:
“Conservatives on the Energy and Commerce Committee are expected to push an amendment that would include nuclear power in the definition of renewable energy sources. Only one state, Ohio, allows nuclear to be considered renewable, and if adopted by Congress, that amendment would make a mockery of the national RES.
“Nuclear power relies on uranium, a nonrenewable resource that contributes to global warming because mining and processing it requires large amounts of fossil fuels. In addition, nuclear does not make the United States less dependent on other nations, since we import more than 90 percent of the uranium we use. In fact, the United States has only 6 percent of the world’s known uranium reserves. And finally, nuclear is polluting since it produces long-term radioactive wastes.”
Supporters on the committee will offer some amendments of their own – Chairman Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI) may offer an amendment to create energy bank to help fund wind, solar and other clean energy projects.
The White House’s announcement today of an agreement with automakers on fuel efficiency and the first ever national greenhouse gas reduction standards highlights the widespread agreement that businesses, government and consumers have on ending America’s reliance on foreign oil and moving towards a clean energy economy.