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Harry Reid can't escape the climate change issue

Many have pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to open the way to move immigration reform before climate change is probably calculated to benefit him and other Democrats in tough election battles. One way this works: By taking up immigration, Reid satisfies Hispanics in his home state of Nevada. But some in Washington have argued that Reid is also trying to avoid a caucus-splitting and perhaps unpopular vote on climate legislation, which many Americans are convinced will cost them money. So it's a two-fer.

But even if Reid pushes consideration of the climate bill into next year, he still might not avoid a nasty fight on the issue. The Environmental Protection Agency is gearing up to regulate carbon emissions as pollutants if Congress fails to act. And there are plenty of senators itching to strip the EPA of its authority to do that -- soon. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) both have proposals on the table that would do something along those lines. Ohio Sen. George Voinovich (R), too, has been circulating a similar plan. Democrats nearly had a big row on their hands over Murkowski's proposal in January. And it's a wedge issue the GOP would no doubt love to exploit before the midterms.

Sure, voting on EPA authority would be easier to manage than taking up a big climate bill. But the politics of EPA regulation are also pretty toxic. Unless Reid can -- somehow -- keep his caucus together, coal-state Democrats convinced that environmentalists want to eviscerate their states' legacy industries will pit themselves against the party's left flank, which will have a fit of its own. Environmental groups will go to the mat on EPA authority, particularly in the absence of a comprehensive climate bill. Not to mention that Reid will face plenty of pressure from the House -- which won't want to take another vote on climate change -- and the White House -- which wants to maintain the administration’s authority but will not want to decide whether to veto a bill with an EPA-gutting rider attached to it.

The global warming issue isn't going away, comprehensive bill or no. Maybe, then, it would be better for Reid to try to get something out of it -- perhaps even a climate bill.

By Stephen Stromberg  | April 27, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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In a sudden change, the Obama Administration has become motivated by the new Arizona immigration law to drop pending Senate and House climate legislation to leverage racial politics over ecopolitics in order to activate its progressive base voters for the congressional elections this fall. Democrats will now attempt to pass national immigration reform laws, and forego new climate laws. Democrats are desperate to stem the widely-predicted, and historically-recorded, losses in their congressional majorities this fall. To conflate illegal immigration controls with racism is a cynical, fraudulent and dangerous ploy.

Thirty-four-year US Representative, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman of Los Angeles was a key sponsor in passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act; a.k.a., the “Waxman-Markey Climate Bill.” The thousand-paged, unread bill narrowly passed the House along partisan lines last fall. Waxman’s bill mimics the costly green regulations that have caused businesses and the middleclass to flee California in recent decades. In the midst of recession, the fanciful green economy of carbon taxes and bureaucratic bingeing for the purely symbolic, marginal environmental improvements that now cripple California will surely stall any national economic recovery.

The Senate version Climate Bill, cryptically titled The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, a.k.a., the “Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill,” was sidelined this week shortly after the Arizona immigration law passed. This Senate Climate Bill would have only moderate the provisions of the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill in the areas of emission goals, carbon allowances, international competitiveness and cost containment.

As the fall mid-term congressional elections near, the media that elected Obama will be only too happy to shift the subject from nuanced and costly climate issues to their default news controversy, race in America. Racial discrimination is as dangerous as it is rare in America. However, “race baiting,” the false claims of racial discrimination for political ends, is just as dangerous. Race baiting and racial agitating have become lucrative career tool for civil rights activists.

Nothing is more cynical or dangerous than a dominant political power that is desperate to maintain its control over American government. Just when you thought Washington political gimmicks had exhausted our mistrust of government, the Democrat-controlled agenda gambles, yet again, with our money, trust and civil unity. Climate legislation can wait. But, improvements in jobs, government competency and government trust can not.

Posted by: PAULTAYLOREXAMINER | April 27, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Though I am a Democrat through-and-through, I will be glad if Harry Reid loses his re-election bid.

He is a terrible Majority leader - cowardly, selfish and weak. His lousy political instincts and inability to control his caucus are pathetic.

Posted by: jsmith021961 | April 27, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"Climate Change Won't Go Away"

And neither will the rising price of tulips in Holland ever subside. Oh wait...sorry. I was thinking of another self-serving hoax perpetrated on a much earlier generation of gullible rubes.

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1 | April 27, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

And neither will the rising price of tulips in Holland ever subside. Oh wait...sorry. I was thinking of another self-serving hoax perpetrated on a much earlier generation of gullible rubes.

And so it goes...

Posted by: pgould1

Another Birther heard from...

Posted by: sux123 | April 27, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Climate Change legislation is DOA. Moreover, it's only a matter of time before the EPA is stripped of its current authority.

Posted by: moebius22 | April 27, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Reid is safe on the environment, largely because to face the revolt the column suggests is coming, the R's would have to work with the D's, and immediately upon starting the fight would have to rerevolt and refuse to work with the D's because, whatever points they might have in common, the D's would also want things the R's don't want, and would reject some of what the R's want, which in reasonable times would mean compromise and the Republicans simply CAN'T do that.

As soon as the R's had to come to the table with guaranteed votes they would walk away, and THAT would really make them look ridiculous. So they can stand around and grumble, but they can't actually do anything that would disrupt the current order of the Senate.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 27, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: yourmomscalling | April 27, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"To conflate illegal immigration controls with racism is a cynical, fraudulent and dangerous ploy."

Yeah, because empowering police to stop anyone they choose, at any time, in order to demand "papers, please" has never, ever been a tool of racial discrimination, ever.

The Republican party: by, and for, historical illiterates.

Posted by: alphahelix | April 27, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Taylor's post is too silly to comment on.

Posted by: kchses1 | April 27, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

For those who think climate change is a hoax or some socialist plot my recommendation is always follow the real money. I don't anything about climate changes except that the subject is immensely complicated. Most immensely complicated objects of study are subject to enormous fluctuations.

However I do know about insurance. If you wish to assess the risks involved in any activity you should ask the people who assess risk and quantify it with a price tag everyday. The worlds largest reinsurance companies have done just that. They have quantified and placed a price tag on climate changes. Over the last several years industry studies have come to the following conclusions;

1. Prior models for assessing weather related catastrophic risk (Events causing over $100MM in claims) have become inadequate. Catastrophic risks are occuring with more frequency and severity then the models predict.
2. Geographic regions are now experiencing weather related catastrophic risk which up until now had not been effected by such weather related risks.
3. Many insurance companies are overexposed geographically to weather related risks and are now diversifying their risk pools. In other words some types of policies are no longer being renewed and lines of coverage are being cancelled.
4. Reserve calculations are inadequate. Should more then one event previously thought to occur only once every 500 years occur within a few years of each other some insurance companies may have insufficient reserves to meet expected claims.

These points represent the movement of $100's of billions.

Those who think climate change is a hoax feel free to bury your head in the sand. But those who have to pay for the effects know it is already occurring.

Posted by: kchses1 | April 27, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

kchses1, you make some interesting points. Thanks for opening my eyes to a new way to look at the effects of climate change and how it will and is effecting the economy.

Posted by: rcupps | April 27, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that nobody has pointed out the most obvious reason to delay raising the Climate Change issue until later in the summer.

It gets hot in the summer.

Easier to pass legislation about Global Warming during a heat wave.

That seems like a joke, doesn't it? But take a look at the comments from Congress, during the snowstorms in February 2010.

Posted by: TechConsultant | April 27, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

In addition to the actions of the insurance industry with regards to preparation for potential major losses in a warming global environment, you may also add the Pentagon. There are, reportedly, plans already made as to how to respond to instability that would be expected to result from migrations of large populations from low-lying areas and conflicts over food, water, and other vital needs. If the insurance companies, the US Military, and 97% of climate scientists are concerned about global climate change, then I am too. Only fools could say with absolute certainty that it is all a hoax. We can argue the details later as to whether we can do much to influence it significantly by cap and trade or carbon taxes, but don't waste my time telling me that it is all just a vast left-wing conspiracy to make Al Gore rich or shower scientists with research grants.

Posted by: wilsonjmichael | April 27, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Sometime in the next 5 years, the northern polar ice cap will totally melt, Glacier national park once had 125 full glaciers, now only 25 still exist. Something is going on. If it makes you happy to mock those that see it, go ahead and laugh!

Posted by: dave57 | April 27, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ecesareel | April 28, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

to all,

Reid has about the same chance as i do to be a Senator in Jan of 2011.
(i'm NOT running.)

he & about 6-10 other DIMocRATS in the senate are DONE, as are several RINOs. = had they LISTENED to the TWO THIRDS of their constitutents, who OPPOSED the leftists/BHO's/DIMocRATS "healthcare reform", they MIGHT have kept their seats.

we voters are MAD & we will "get our pound of flesh" on November's election day.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 28, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

to all,

a bit "off topic", but worth saying:

BHO is either a LIAR, a DUNCE and/or just plain STUPID, in his remarks on AZ's immigration bill.= NOTHING that he has said about AZ's new law is TRUTHFUL!

i cannot decide which of the possibilities is WORSE for America.
(i fear that STUPID AND DISHONEST is the actual answer. - Jan 20, 2013 cannot come soon enough to suit me.)

frankly, i never thought that we would ever have a POTUS who made Jimmy Carter look SMART and/or Richard Nixon look HONEST!

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 28, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The EPA can be trusted as much as the gang of Marxists who currently control the EPA.

More and more scientists and thinking people all over the world are realizing that man-made global warming is a hoax. It's the hoax, not "global warming" that threatens our future and the future of our children.

More than 700 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims. They are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

Additionally, more than 30,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

We pray that honest leaders – both Democrat and Republican - are able to save us from the cap and trade SCAM, another job-killing, prosperity-killing SCAM!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | April 28, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Yes, rcupps. Follow the real money and you find that Cap and trade is a hoax that will net billions to Obama's already billionaire friends, at the expense of middle-class and poor Americans.

Cap and trade represents huge taxes and cost increases, which will hurt mostly the poor and the middle class. Cap and trade will give dictatorial powers to Obama and will further enrich his billionaire friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, the United Nations, etc.) -- all at our expense and at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

Obama and his accomplices know how bad cap and trade would be for us, but they want to force us to swallow it because they expect to further empower and enrich themselves at our expense.

Numerous economic studies support a leaked memo from the Obama administration that said restricting carbon dioxide emissions will have a severe negative impact on the U.S. economy.

Applying the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s economic forecasting model, Science Applications International Corporation reports reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 70 percent by 2050 could kill 4 million U.S. jobs, cause gasoline and electricity prices to more than double, and reduce household income by more than $7,000 each and every year.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | April 28, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

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