Waxman-Markey Clears Energy And Commerce Committee
At long last, the House Energy and Commerce Committee blew through the hundreds of Republican amendments and passed the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill out of committee. While the bill is certainly not as good as it could be, it does represent a step in the right direction, and given the wrangling in Congress there are months upon months to get it right. Left to their own devices, members of Congress will only hurt the bill, in all likelihood, which is why movement pressure must be brought to bear on the politicians. President Obama has clearly sequenced health care first in the queue, but his voice will be needed in this debate.
The other lever in this debate could actually be China. Their demands for the upcoming Copenhagen conference will include targets that are much deeper than what Waxman-Markey now provides, and without those targets, I assume China will reject any move to cap their own emissions. Apparently China and the US are holding secret talks on how to deal with climate change and have reached some kind of preliminary understanding, and if Congress can be made to comply with this kind of leverage, maybe the bill can get strengthened.
The real end point is the global summit in Copenhagen in December, so perhaps that can be used like a vice to force the bill through. At any rate, we'll need to be on top of this.
...more from the Sierra Club. Wow, Republican Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) ended up voting for the bill. That's significant. Apparently we only lost 4 Dems, all Blue Dogs: Ross, Melancon, Matheson, and Barrow.