Maybe the biggest failure of the Democrats over the past few years has been that they didn't pass climate change legislation, even when they had simultaneous control of the House, the Senate, and the White House. Luckily for them, they have a backup plan with the Environmental Protection Agency. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA can issue regulations for air pollutants that they determine "endanger public health and welfare." On January 2nd, the first round of EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions went into effect using this authority.
In the first week of the new Congress, House Republicans introduced three separate bills to stop the EPA from enforcing climate change rules. Here's a quick overview.Read Full Article
With the new session of Congress quickly approaching, here's a look back at the most-opposed bills of the previous session that are likely to be introduced again next year. These are the bills with the most "no" votes among OpenCongress users, as tracked by our Battle Royale, that didn't become law in the past session. It's by no means a complete picture of political sentiments across the country, but it gives us a unique view into what specific proposals from Congress have gotten people concerned and engaged over the past two years.Read Full Article
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] essentially announced the death of climate change legislation yesterday when he revealed the Democrats' plan to take cap-and-trade out of their energy bill and vote on it as a stand-alone amendment. Cap-and-trade simply does not have 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster. But that doesn't mean climate change won't be dealt with soon. The EPA has been given authority to regulate carbon dioxide and they have made it clear that they will use that authority if Congress doesn't pass a climate bill.Read Full Article
Despite Sens. John Kerry [D, MA] and Joe Lieberman [I, CT] recently proposing a new framework for comprehensive energy and climate change legislation designed to win bipartisan support, it's looking increasingly likely that there just isn't enough support in the Senate for passing such a bill this year. If that is in fact the case, the Environmental Protection Agency, as part of the Obama Administration's efforts to fight climate change, is planning to use a 2007 Supreme Court ruling giving them authority over greenhouse gasses to put new caps on emissions from automobiles and power plants.
That is unless Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R, AK] succeeds at blocking the EPA from taking action by passing her proposed resolution of disapproval S.J.Res.26. According to the New York Times, Murkowski and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] have struck a deal to allow the resolution to come up for a vote on June 10. The Times notes that under the agreement the resolution will not be susceptible to a filibuster, which means that it will only take 51 votes to pass. The resolution already has 41 co-sponsors, three of which are Democrats.Read Full Article
Sen. John Kerry [D, MA] and Sen. Joseph Lieber man [I, CT] today unveiled details of their long-awaited American Power Act, which is a comprehensive bill designed to deal with the issues of climate change and energy independence. It's a draft right now, so we don't have it up on OpenCongress. As soon as we do, we'll be doing some more deep analysis of its provisions. But for now, it wanted to pass along some info on what the bill proposes for the energy topic du jour -- offshore drilling.Read Full Article
Congressional leaders may have decided which bills to bring in front of the C-SPAN cameras over the past year, but they didn't control what the public paid attention to and what bills got them talking. Nearly 10,000 bills have been introduced in Congress over the past year. In many cases the ones that have really caught the public's attention are different from the ones that were sanctioned and promoted by the congressional leadership.Read Full Article
Now that they're just about done with removing the public option from the health care bill, several of the same conservative Democrats in the Senate are working on removing the central component -- cap and trade -- from the climate change bill.Read Full Article
If you read my climate change primer, you know that House leaders were expected to push for a comprehensive energy package, tying together a climate change bill and legislation for a renewable energy standard, changes to nations electrical grid, and energy efficiency. On Tuesday, a draft of that House package was released by the Energy and Commerce Committee.Read Full Article
The AIG bonus scandal is burning through the media universe, but Congress is also continuing work on the legislative agenda. Some of the big pieces in the coming months will be on the energy front. New details were recently released about a proposed renewable energy standard (which would require utilities to produce a percentage of their power via renewable sources, like solar and wind). How that RES bill will move through the House and, more importantly, the Senate, is a bit confusing and very political. So, here's an OpenCongress primer on the looming energy/climate change battle.Read Full Article