September 30, 2009

Boxer and Kerry's Cap-and-Tax Bill
— Gabriel Malor

Global warmening returns to Capitol Hill today as Senator Kerry and Ma'am Boxer introduce their version of cap-and-trade. They're calling their bill—which lacks crucial details like how many and to whom carbon credits will be allocated—"a starting point."

One of the most contentious sections of the House bill was the list of industries and other benefactors that would receive free pollution credits, which could eventually be worth billions of dollars. The Senate draft does not spell out who would get free credits, a topic that is likely to be crucial to Senate negotiations.

The entire draft is "a starting point" said Tony Kreindler of the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental group. "It's going to change fairly substantially as they move forward."

As in the House, the Senate bill provides financial assistance to workers who lose their jobs because of the legislation.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., one of the Senate's most vocal opponents of climate-change action, predicted the bill won't even be debated on the Senate floor before the end of the year, let alone come up for a vote. "Why should Democrats bring up something that's going to further entrench them against the American people?" he told reporters Tuesday.

Boxer has vowed to hold hearings on it in October, but that hardly seems likely with Senate Finance tied up with Obamacare. This has got to be giving the White House fits because it distracts from the President's signature issue. At a time when he wants the Democrats focused on ironing out their differences on the public option (READ: getting bought off), the Boxer-Kerry bill will split them further.

The problem is that Boxer and Kerry know they have no more time to wait around for the President. The papers say they're introducing the bill now because they want diplomats at an environmental conference in December to think the United States is serious about global warming. That's not it.

The truth is what I've been saying for some time now. If the Democrats' Far Left agenda doesn't become law this year, they won't get another chance until 2012—assuming the President is reelected. The grudging, bought, lip-service support of centrist Democrats for things like card check, Obamacare, mortgage cramdown, and cap-and-tax is going out the window as soon as the election season gets going next year.

Democrats elected on the President's coattails in red districts know that they are vulnerable. Signing on to more progressive anti-prosperity legislation will end their chances at reelection. And so, if it doesn't get done now, it won't get done. The President already shot his wad on the spendulus. He will never again have the political or personal capital that he did in February of this year.

And if (when?) the Republicans come roaring back in 2010, Democrats can just forget about it.

Oh, Also Go Read This: It's an interview with Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. He hits many of the right notes, including on the economic destruction wrought by government regulation and the damage environmentalists cause to vulnerable third-world populations.

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