Boucher predicts “I think we’ll do far better than” the 218 votes needed to pass Waxman-Markey, GOP’s Walden agrees passage likely

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"Boucher predicts “I think we’ll do far better than” the 218 votes needed to pass Waxman-Markey, GOP’s Walden agrees passage likely"

The House of Representatives is on the verge of a historic achievement that seemed unlikely just a few months ago — passage of bipartisan comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that put the nation on a path to slash greenhouse gas emissions more than 80% in four decades.

One of the key coal-state Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), yesterday “predicted sponsors would have little trouble crossing the 218-vote threshold,” as E&E News PM (subs. req’d) put it.  Boucher said, “I think we’ll do far better than that.”

While Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA0 continues negotiating with other committees, the most problematic being Agriculture chaired by Collin Peterson (D-MN), even Republicans are grudgingly coming around to acknowledging the inevitable.  E&E Daily (subs. req’d) reports today:

My guess is they get to 218,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). “I think they get there because this is such a priority for the Obama administration and the speaker. The leadership in this town is very much behind it. And I’ve been in the majority. When the leadership is all kind of coalesced around, they twist a few arms here and there to get to their required vote.

And the bill now seems likely to get multiple GOP votes:

Only a handful of Republicans are considered “aye” votes when the legislation hits the floor, including Reps. Mary Bono Mack of California and New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith. A number of other GOP members remain on the fence….

Any wavering Republicans can also expect to hear from GOP leadership, especially if it looks like there is a chance that the party can defeat the bill on the floor.

“Only”?  A few weeks again “any” GOP votes whatsoever would have been considered quite iffy. The GOP leadership hates everything about this bill and doesn’t believe in — or even understand — that global warming is the gravest preventable threat to the health and well-being of Americans:

The fact that this bill may get a few GOP votes suggests that

  1. Many GOP members actually do understand this issue and the urgent need for action — and are willing to buck their leadership on it.
  2. Members increasingly see that the bill is going to pass and want to be on the right side of this historic and defining issue.

Let’s hope the momentum builds because the larger the vote in the House, the more pressure on the Senate and the greater the ability to avoid having the bill weakened in the Senate:

As for the Democrats, there is near universal agreement that they won’t begin the floor debate until they know for sure they have the votes — a strategy that House Republicans sometimes used when they were in the majority. “You can’t do that with one of the president’s signature pieces of legislation,” said a former House Democratic lawmaker who served in a leadership position.

Walden predicted that Democratic leaders will secure the necessary votes and then give a pass to a number of their own members who are nervous about the proposal. “They’ve got a big enough margin they can let the real vulnerables slip,” he said.

He added that the larger the majority, the better the chances of prompting action in the Senate. “Any time you roll out of any chamber with a big number, it puts pressure on the other chamber, or it gives relief,” Walden said.

Finally, Waxman at least still thinks the floor debate will be the week of June 22:  “I still expect it to be before July Fourth.”  I’d say the betting odds are under 50-50 on that.

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14 Responses to Boucher predicts “I think we’ll do far better than” the 218 votes needed to pass Waxman-Markey, GOP’s Walden agrees passage likely

  1. Bart van Deenen says:

    Hi all

    I found these videos of a lecture of Australian Professor Bob Carter. He is a geologist specializing in palaeoclimatology, stratigraphy, marine geology, and environmental science. It’s difficult for me to understand how this serious scientist, with hundreds of peer-reviewed publications can be so adamant about AGW being unproven, and at the same time there are the scientists at realclimate.org that are just as adamant about the contrary.
    Then there are politicians like Mr. Gore, who claim that the science is settled, whereas there are clearly scientists in relevant disciplines that are completely unconvinced.

    So what is one to do, as a citizen that just wants to be informed?

    Thanks for any answers.

    Links: Prof. Robert Carter on AGW:

    part 1
    part 2
    part 3
    part 4

  2. MikeB says:

    Useful summary of H.R.2454 from Congressman Butterfield’s office here:
    http://butterfield.house.gov/SupportingFiles/documents/AmericanCleanEnergyandSecurityActSummy.pdf

  3. danl says:

    Joe,
    Having participated in the environmental “lobby” day on Capitol Hill yesterday, I can say that these numbers seem a little too optimistic. Several moderate representatives I talked to were concerned about the agriculture / biomass portions of the bill, and one staffer predicted only four “Yes” votes from Pennsylvania. For reference, there are 19 reps in PA, 12 of which are democrats. Obama / Pelosi need to step up on messaging, as most Reps are far more concerned with healthcare than climate.

    [JR: I expect deals will be cut on the Ag side. Frankly, this bill is basically quite good for the Aggies, and many of the things that they want (though not all) are pretty harmless from my perspective. But, yes, right now, the Aggies are taking a hard line because they want concessions. At the end of the day, they will have to ask themselves if they want to take down a signature issue of the speaker and the President, with all that entails for their own ability to get legislation and favors they want over the next few years.]

  4. Leland Palmer says:

    If it’s going to be that easy, maybe they should take out the provisions of the bill that interfere with the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases, and so not count on the Senate to do this.

    Giving up any legal power over the coal fired power plants and refineries, at this point, is probably a mistake.

  5. MikeB says:

    Leland,

    Help. Can you point me to: “provisions of the bill that interfere with the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases”?

    I’ve got the 932 page bill up on Acrobat now.

    Thanks.

  6. MarkB says:

    Bart van Deenen writes:

    “So what is one to do, as a citizen that just wants to be informed?”

    In any scientific issue that implies political action (evolution, for example) there’s going to be dissent among some scientists and a much larger share of the general public. If an average citizen wants to be informed on climate science, the first step is to avoid politically-motivated sources. Scientists who exaggerate their credentials and are associated with right-wing think tanks are usually not reliable sources.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bob_Carter

    The next step is to look at all qualified scientific opinions. Note the consensus from all major scientific academies and organizations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    One can also look at each climate scientist individually and examine their credentials, opinions, and publications.

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/climate_authors_table.html

    …noting there’s a strong consensus among individual scientists that increases with expertise:

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    Then note there are very few studies published in reasonablly-reputable scientific journals that dispute the significant human-induced warming effect.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/306/5702/1686.pdf

    Of course, scientific consensus is not proof. Another step is to critically examine the arguments of “skeptics” and realize that most of those arguments aren’t scientifically valid.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

  7. paulm says:

    Bart, one should consider Occam’s razor in this case:

    CO2 is a green house gas; Were pumping tons of the stuff in to the air, increasing concentrations; Its tipping the balance that has existed for thousands of years; Hell & High Water is arriving (look around your!).

  8. JP says:

    @MikeB: I believe that the language you’re looking for is in Title VIII, Part C. Title VIII comes after the actual cap and trade program details.

  9. Rick Covert says:

    Joe,

    Since, as you have stated previously, that 17% reductions from, what 2005(?) 1990 (?) levels, is so easy what are the chances that the reductions could be increased to 20% again?

  10. Brooks says:

    Bart:

    I went to the professor’s site. The fact that he even includes “The Leipzig Declaration” as proof that there is significant disagreement on AGW among scientists speaks volumes.

    Google it and you will find 25 of the supposed 100+signatories were Television News Meteorologists; others were dead, others could not be found. You will also find it was promoted by Fred Singer, a renowned “scientist for hire”. For instance: You want proof second hand smoke is no problem, that organic farming is bad for the planet, hire Singer. He also authored one book denying global warming, then a year later, followed it with one saying it happens every 1500 years.

    The professor, and other deniers, also cite the many signatories to the Heidleberg Appeal, which is a very short, very vague document which does not mention global warming or climate change. It basically says our actions should be based on science, not ideology.

    In general, you will find he never backs up his various claims.

    It really doesn’t take long to figure out who’s blowing smoke.

  11. dhogaza says:

    Bart, two sources to read:

    Coby Beck’s “How to talk to a skeptic”

    And Skeptical Science. Click the links alongside the thermometer graphic on the left.

    I’m quite sure Carter’s claims will show up there – he’s not had an original thought since he decided to misrepresent his bona fides.

  12. MikeB says:

    Is there some way to place all the denier activity into a parallel column? Still on this page. Just off to the side. The main topic can go on.

    Meanwhile, off to the side, the weird ecology of the deniersphere meets reality head on (and doesn’t get it).

    One has to wonder how much of this endless anti-science and anti-environment is paid for. To gum up the works and worse. The legacy of F Luntz lives on. http://www.ewg.org/node/8684

  13. Russ says:

    leland,

    EPA has control over coal fired power now. They regulate both coarse and fine particulate matter as well as sulfur dioxide.

  14. Ralph Hansen says:

    Can someone help me with a vision of what the United States looks like in 2050 after we reduce greenhouse gas emissions 83% from 2005 levels? Presumably that figure will actually be closer to 90% when population growth is considered. In order to get there, I don’t believe any sector can be excluded.

    See – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greenhouse_Gas_by_Sector.png

    What are we flying, riding and driving in 2050? How are we heating our homes? What have we done about agriculture and livestock emissions? Are we getting all our baseload power from nuclear plants?

    Actually, for the sake of discussion, can anyone tell me how we achieve a 17% reduction by 2020, and a 42% reduction by 2030? What sort of lifestyle exists in the United States?