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ReadTheBill FAIL: Cap and Trade Edition

June 26, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

ReadTheBill FAILAs Donny has been reporting, the House today is scheduled to vote on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, a sweeping piece of legislation that will establish a program to cap emissions of pollutants and a system for trading emission permits. I won’t go into too much detail for two reasons: for starters, Donny has covered it quite extensively. However the larger reason is because I have no clue what’s actually contained in the bill being debated today.

My colleague Paul Blumenthal describes what’s happening in more detail, but the basic gist of the situation is thus: the House will debate H.R. 2998 as a substitute amendment to the original bill, H.R. 2454. Complicating matters is the sheer length of the bill — H.R. 2454 weighed in at 1091 pages. The substitute bill that was dropped this week is 1200 pages long! And, as if to add insult to injury, there are 300 pages of material included today based upon committee action yesterday.

I wrote last week that OpenCongress can be an incredible resource for citizens, reporters and activists looking for information on Congress, but cautioned that this is only true when Congress makes that information available. With the case of the American Clean Energy And Security Act, this simply wasn’t possible. Members of the House were given precious little time to determine the policy outcomes of this legislation, due to its size, the different versions released, and the time frame provided for action (Speaker Nancy Pelosi had sought a vote before next week’s 4th of July recess). Members of the public were given even less time.

My colleagues at the Sunlight Foundation argue that lawmakers should be required to post legislation online for 72 hours before voting. That would ensure everybody — from Senators and Representatives to bloggers, reporters and citizens — would have time to read the bill.

Debate on ACES is ongoing as I write this, but our research assistant Isabelle Cutting has dug up a couple of links you might find useful in understanding what’s happening today. I sure don’t.

  • Pelosi cracks the whips to get climate bill passed Grist
  • House Debates Climate Change Bill as Leaders Round Up Votes CQ
  • Hoyer predicts enough climate votes, but late night The Hill
  • House Speaker Reports ‘Progress’ Washington Post
  • High Stakes for Obama Politico
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  • Anonymous 06/26/2009 11:52am

    If this trash is passed, even when every poll of taxpayers I’ve read says we are against it, there will be hell to pay. There is a growing chorus of “throw the bums out” & not just at TEA parties!

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  • Sparhawk2k 06/26/2009 11:56am

    I always hate how hard it is to find out what these bills are actually about and what random stuff has been added at the last minute. I’m generally for a climate change / clean energy bill but there’s a lot of stuff that could be snuck into a 1200 page document that could change my mind.

  • ConservativeFLrunner 06/26/2009 2:12pm

    I was watching the House debate earlier on this piece of garbage. Kudos to Ohio’s John Boehner for explaining the lunacy of the 400 page ammendment that was snuck in at 3:09 AM. The anount of government intrusion, and the amount of spending required (our $$)at all levels is absolutely staggering. If this legislation passes we all must band together and vow to vote out every single supporter.

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    Anonymous 06/26/2009 5:44pm
    I agree, Americans are waking up and it’s time to vote them out and start fresh. I personally do not agree in career Politicians, I think serving multiple terms in office creates more issues than resolutions. Let face it this group in office now wants to be the ruling Aristocrats of Europe, could it be they want to be that group? I am ready to give them a fight we must fight to maintain our liberties.
  • Anonymous 06/26/2009 2:24pm
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    GOD HELP US ALL if this bill is passed…It will show that we are living in a Mussolini-style government that knows no opposition and will do anything to stamp out all debate…Thay are right and everyone else is wrong…

  • Anonymous 06/27/2009 7:04am

    They have a lot of nerve talking about Iran’s elections. I think it is time for a REVOLUTION of AMERICAN TAX PAYING CITIZENS ON A SCALE THEY COULDN’T

  • Anonymous 06/28/2009 4:58am

    I communicate daily with engineers around the US who are developing clean coal and other reduced-CO2 fuel technologies. I never hear any of them claim the point of cap and trade is to prevent global warming. Most believe it is an energy tax, pure and simple. Some think it is correct as we may have reached peak oil and need some nudging to move us away from fossil fuels in a timely manner.

  • wsyh42 06/28/2009 8:51am

    This is an under handed tax to generate income to pay for all of the entitlement plans of this administration. The bill promises new jobs. What they don’t mention is the jobs that will be eliminated. Some experts estimate 2 jobs lost for ever one created. Should this be passed into law, what benefit do companies have for staying in the USA.

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