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Waffling on Energy Tax Bill   June 28th, 2009
Democrats want to avoid this political hot potato       

 
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A few days ago President Obama said that it was urgent that the Congress pass the energy tax bill (referred to by Democrats as Cap and Trade) to supposedly address global warming. However, after a very close vote in the House and uncertain prospects in the Senate, it looks like this may (luckily) be stalled.

From Thursday, the day before the House voted on the energy tax, the president had the following to say:

Obama made an urgent plea for congressional approval in what could be an early make-or-break test for his young administration.

"Now is the time for us to lead," Obama said in the White House Rose Garden. "We cannot be afraid of the future. We cannot be prisoners to the past."...

The climate change bill under debate in the House would reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 through a so-called "cap-and-trade"


The House then voted on Friday to approve the energy tax in a close 219-212 vote (while the mainstream media was mainly reporting on Michael Jackson).

But, today, top White House adviser David Axelrod had the following to say:

A top presidential adviser says it probably will be the fall before the Senate deals with a major climate change bill that just passed the House.


Granted, he doesn't control the Senate. At least not officially. But if he's commenting on the Senate's schedule, he probably knows what that schedule is.

So I guess now isn't the "time to lead" as Obama said on Thursday, and I guess they do fear the future--at least the bill's future in the Senate. Now is the time for them to recognize that this energy tax just barely made it through the House (and that was only possible with 8 Republican votes) and that it's quite likely it would be subject to a filibuster in the Senate.

I'm sure quite a few legislators that put their neck on the line for this very controversial bill are not happy to hear that they might just be left hanging and having to answer for a vote that put them on the record but which might not even result in enacted legislation. Especially those eight Republicans.

Of course, this is a good thing. The fact that the administration recognizes it's going to have trouble in the Senate and is putting that fight off for later is a good sign that the bill can be stalled or defeated in the Senate. That'd be good for the country, especially those of low and moderate income who will be most heavily burdened by that energy tax.

So if this was an early "make or break" for the administration, does that mean it broke?


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