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Reid: Climate bill must have 'broad bipartisan support' or he won't bring it to the floor

I don't want to say that a serious climate change bill is dead, exactly, but this statement from Jim Manley, Harry Reid's spokesman, doesn't inspire confidence. “Sen. Reid has made it clear to proponents on and off the Hill and at the White House that anything he brings to the floor will need broad bipartisan support,” Manley told Politico. Does anyone think that a genuine climate bill has any chance of "broad bipartisan support" in an election year?

The article is actually about how liberal senators want Barack Obama to get more involved in the issue, and the quote from Manley comes as an afterthought on Page 2. But if that's the majority leader's test, there's no way for a good bill to pass. Democrats couldn't get broad bipartisan support for the stimulus package, which was popular and necessary and came to the floor when Obama and the Democrats had just won a huge election. Now that Democrats and Obama have a lot less leverage and Republicans are a lot closer to an election that they're likely to win, bipartisan support is even less plausible. Reid's might be able to get bipartisan support for a a narrow bill tailored to the BP spill, but not for major climate and energy legislation.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 24, 2010; 9:51 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for the feckless Reid to lose in November if the Democrats keep the Senate by a handful of seats. Then the new majority leader and his colleagues could get rid of the filibuster and holds, and next year Congress could get back to addressing the country's problems without being held hostage by the Senate minority. I'm not holding my breath waiting for any of that to happen of course.

Posted by: redwards95 | June 24, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

That is exactly why the Democrats need to scrap the climate bill cap and tax regime idea and instead move a bipartisan green energy bill that focuses only on creating a lot more renewable energy from wind, solar and other green sources of energy.

That bill could be passed before the November elections and make the Congress look even more effective in passing legislation.

Posted by: lancediverson | June 24, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

In other words, Reid does not want to expose the handful of ConservaDems who oppose this effort.

I hope Reid loses his reelection bid. He is another ConservaDem who is helping to sabotage the 2008 election mandate for change and reform.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 24, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

coal and nuclear have to get a bill to the floor -- reid has leverage because of the natural gas revolution, LNG + shale

Posted by: jackjudge4000yahoocom | June 24, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Your recent reporting on the prospects for a major climate bill reminds me of something. What is it? Hmmm .... Oh, yeh: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Posted by: ostap666 | June 24, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

waxman-markey is coal's dream bill; kerry-lieberman is nuclear's dream bill

Posted by: jackjudge4000yahoocom | June 24, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Reid has no real options. Bring a bill to the floor and all the Dems lose. The Conservative Dems are forced to vote no, and the Green Dems are handed a stinging defeat. Meanwhile the Republicans look united and strong in opposition.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 24, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

As long as liberals frame this as a "climate bill" it will never, ever pass. The Average Joe will never pay higher energy bills to fix a problem that is so amorphous. Working on the ground in Colorado on these issues, I see this everyday. In Aspen, they can look at the ski slopes and it is tangible, so people there care. But anywhere else (assuming they believe in global warming at all, which a lot of otherwise intelligent people don't) its just not something that motivates people.

This is a get-our-civilization-off-of-oil-before-oil-production-falls-off-a-cliff-and-destroys-our-economy bill. Some PR guy can come up with a catchy, short name that encapsulates that.

Posted by: nathanlindquist | June 24, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Reid may have noticed that Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, was deposed by a coup of his own party this morning.

His ouster was because he ran on a campaign of Cap n Trade, but after it failed to win the vote twice, he abandoned it. Reid doesn't want to end up like Rudd, so he's avoiding a fight he can't win.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 24, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, Ezra.

Gail Collins's 9 Jan 2009 column very well explains the limits of bipartisanship. Too much bipartisanship generally means transformative bills stray too far from their missions, and fail to do what they intend to accomplish. It's impossible for both parties to work together on global warming when the vast majority in one party refuse even to acknowledge that it exists.

Posted by: moronjim | June 24, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Cap and trade is dead (in this session) without a Republican willing to jump on it. I don't hear Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, or Lindsey Graham making any moves, do you?

They need to focus on nailing down EPA's authority now. If Republicans are actually willing to support a "bipartisan energy bill" passed that covers everybody's asses on the Deepwater Horizon and gives the GOP its beloved nuclear energy subsidies, while also tightening up the legal grounds for EPA's ability to regulate, I think that would be a very attractive solution.

We can regulate CO2 without passing a complicated new cap and trade statute. In fact, we're already well down that road.

Posted by: NS12345 | June 24, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes but any EPA oriented Cap N Trade can be instantly revoked by the next administration. No one is going to take it seriously if its only functional during democratic administrations.

The true believers of global warming need more than one republican, they need about 15 to make up for the democrats who won't vote for it.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 24, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Can we not use the term "true believers" to describe proponents of a climate change/clean energy bill? This isn't religion, and we're not fundamentalists.

Posted by: MosBen | June 24, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Green energy is largely a myth. The TV program V must be heaven for the tree huggers...but it is just a Hollywood script. We need to develop ALL forms of energy. BP has set back oil production, but their mistake cannot be politicized into stupid legislation and regulations.


Posted by: my4653 | June 24, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"True Believers" is a natural term for proponents if you're going to refer to non-believers as "deniers". The religious nature of global warming belief is core to its principles.

When the leaders of the AGW movement describe it as a moral challenge, and when "goodness" is synonymous with "greeness", then it has become a religious belief based on a scientific theory.

Its a simple equation, they need you to believe your actions can cause the weather to change. The ancient egyptians blamed it on sins against the invisible gods, and modern scientists blame eco-sins against the invisible gas.

Once you're convinced your actions change the weather, they can convince you to pay taxes to appease the weather gods. Nobody thinks that any of the Global Warming bills will actually have an impact on keeping the planet to 2 degree rise in temperature. Its a matter of doing "something" even if inconsequential. That's ok, because the whole point isn't saving the world, its making the prophet rich with your token sacrifice at the alter.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 24, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Watch Gasland on HBO if you're a natural gas fan like I was. The problems associated with hydro-fracking appear worse than I thought....and I already thought it posed problems.

Those apposed to a tax on carbon just don't understand what's at stake with global warming. Worse, their unwillingness to accept science has little to do with anything other than their dislike for government involvement. To wit: Does anyone doubt that if the science indicated that global warming could be solved by cutting taxes and the size of government that the entire Republican party along with Fox News AND Rush Limbaugh would be pointing to the scientific consensus and screaming for implementation of those recommendations immediately?

Their wishes are the father of all their conclusions. Facts have nothing to do with their opinions.

Posted by: sdavis3398 | June 24, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

This Gulf of Mexico spill has many lessons to be learned from on how we handle our energy needs. Sadly it shows more and more on the entire republican side if one pays even the slightest attention to the actions of congress how little they care about changing what is absolutely necessary.
We need this climate bill to be good, not sorta, not kinda good, it needs to change how we manage our energy needs all together. Unless Oil companies can show that they can Drill safely it should not be done its costing far too much on our world. There are a good variety of growing Green energy ideas that not only work, but are clean and also provide badly needed jobs. Examples begin at Solar power that is widely used and should be expanded apon. Wind is another great example and hey best of all its FREE. Geothermal is I think a big key, its simply taping into earths natural thermal energy to produce power and new advances to make it even more efficient have been brought to light recently in Discovery magazine. Honestly i could keep going but you get the idea really, I think the republican party needs to MAN up to their jobs and start either agreeing on changes or perhaps coming up with their own ideas to help fix our nation that don't include Bush Policies that caused our Financial problems.

Posted by: Carbenone | June 25, 2010 5:10 AM | Report abuse

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