Cap and trade passes House with 8 GOP defections

Posted on June 26, 2009

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The woefully ill-advised cap and trade bill, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, narrowly passed in the House of Representatives with a finaly tally of 219-212. The article calls it a “triumph” for the President, but I don’t know how proud the Democrats should feel over such a close vote when 44 of their own voted against it, and in effect they owe passage of the bill to 8 Republican defectors, who, with such a small margin of victory, were clearly the difference.

I also don’t know how proud the Democrats should feel since payoffs were a large part in strong-arming support. Behold one such example from the above article:

Rep. Alan Grayson, a first-term Democrat, won a pledge of support that $50 million from the proceeds of pollution permit sales in the bill would go to a proposed new hurricane research facility in his district in Orlando, Fla.

Yes, be proud that you essentially had to buy support to even squeak by. But even more egregious was the addition of a 300-page amendment at 3:00 AM this morning, which seriously raises the question of whether most legislators, just like the stimulus package, even knew what they were voting on.

Republican Minority Leader John Boehner have a spirited last-minute speech against the bill and the massive last-minute amendment, speaking for over an hour in what was a filibuster-like performancethat saw him say to bill co-author Rep. Henry Waxman, who whined about the length of Boehner’s diatribe, “You have had 30 years to write this bill, and we have had 5 hours to debate what is the most important bill to come through this House in 100 years.” He’s absolutely right, as from the beginning of this session of Congress, the Democrats have rammed through with little debate and legislative reflection, and certainly little to no compromise, every wish list item on their agenda.

Boehner’s efforts were for naught, however, due to the crossover of 8 GOP members to vote for the bill. If only half of them had changed their mind, this bill would have been defeated. The defections on such a major and historically destructive bill are as shameful as the stimulus defections of Senators Snowe, Collins, and Specter (who ended up completely switching parties anyway). So you may direct your thanks to these eight (info from MM), without whom this bill would have remained dead on the House floor where it belongs:

Mary Bono Mack (CA)
Mike Castle (DE)
Mark Kirk (IL)
Leonard Lance (NJ)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
John McHugh (NY)
Dave Reichert (WA)
Chris Smith (NJ)

The cap and trade idea is an economic disaster, one built on the shaky premise of man-made global warming . Even if one accepts that premise, the bill does little for the entire world output of carbon, as India, China, and Russia, among other countries, will simply say, “Thanks for conceding your manufacturing sector to us, stupid Yanks.” Instead of leading by example, we’ll be laughed at by the world’s biggest polluters for harming ourselves economically. What do we get in return? Higher energy costs, which both sides agree will happen, and a rise in the price of many goods as industries are forced to pay essentially carbon penalties that will be passed on to the consumer. The net result is grave harm to an economy already bleeding from decreased manufacturing jobs, a sector which will take an even harder hit with the new regulations. And a shrinking economy will mean those Obama budget deficits will expand as revenues to the government continue to decrease.

The concept that this bill is a “jobs” bill is an absolute joke. The claim is based on the theory that “green jobs” will be created to fill in the void. No one can really define what these “green jobs” are except grasping at straws to justify nanny-state regulation of industry. Are the green jobs going to workers installing expensive solar panels that many can’t afford without taxpayer-paid subsidies? Are they workers making biodiesel and ethanol, or folks inspecting houses going up for sale for environmental soundness?

Even if there are jobs to be had in these areas, they can’t be many, as the private sector would have been able to turn them into profitable ventures instead of charity cases. And in no way will they replace the blue-collar workers who find themselves out of work because of the domestic decline in manufacturing, and you won’t convince me that many will simply shift over to this supposed new sector of work. Don’t believe me? Just look at Spain, which has aggressive encouragement of green jobs and also boasts one of Europe’s highest unemployment rates.

The one hope cap and trade opponents can have is that the bill is going to run into serious trouble in the Senate. I will never say that bill is doomed to failure, though, as who knows what deals will be cut and what promises will be made. If cap and trade passes the Senate, it will be historic, all right, but not for the reasons its supporters think. It will signal a crippling blow to American industry and a sucker punch to an already hemorrhaging economy, all in the name of Captain Planet do-gooder-ness that will not solve the problem of climate change in the slightest.

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Posted in: News, Politics