Senate staffer: Graham’s been “completely genuine” in bipartisan negotiations for climate and clean energy jobs bill
If email, comments on CP, and some eco-bloggers are to be believed, conservative Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been planning to walk on the climate bill for a long time — perhaps, nefariously, from the very beginning! And I certainly understand where that sentiment is coming from, given that the GOP strategy on health care and financial reform has been to feign interest and then bolt.
Although both immigration and climate reform are top priorities for the Obama administration, White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes said, it is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) who “sets the agenda.” MSNBC’s Chuck Todd questioned Barnes this morning over the conflict between Reid and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that derailed the expected unveiling of comprehensive climate legislation Monday. Barnes said that energy reform — what President Obama has called one of his “foundational priorities” — is “critical to this country,” while immigration reform is “important.” However, she repeatedly indicated that the responsibility for moving forward lies with Reid:
MELODY BARNES: What the president and administration want is to work with Congress, Republicans and Democrats in Congress to address these big issues. The Senate Majority Leader will make a decision how to go forward. Immigration reform is important. We also know that comprehensive energy reform is critical to this country. We have to get away from reliance on foreign oil. We know we can create clean energy jobs. So both of these are top priorities for this president. We’re going to be working with the Senate.
CHUCK TODD: Can either be signed this year?
BARNES: We’re hoping to move forward with the majority leader as he sets the agenda.
Reid’s staff had leaked to reporters that the majority leader wanted the Senate to consider an immigration bill before climate legislation, a statement that made little sense other than a response to local political pressures. As Graham, who has been the lead Republican on both issues, voiced his displeasure, it seems neither Reid nor the White House reached out to quell his anger. Graham and Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) American Power Act is ready to be unveiled for direct floor consideration, but immigration reform requires “significant committee work that has not yet begun” — as Reid said. President Obama has been keeping his pledge to immigration reform advocates to raise the issue with Republicans like Sen. Scott Brown (D-MA) to get on board with Graham and Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) immigration effort, but the two bills aren’t on the same timetable.
In addition to the fealty of most Republicans to killer fossil industries, Democrats have competing camps on the best pathway to energy action, with senators like Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) pushing for alternate strategies to President Obama’s comprehensive climate reform. Reid has waffled on whether he would be willing to risk conflict with Democratic committee chairs by taking climate reform straight to the floor. This potential conflict with senators like agriculture chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and finance chair Max Baucus (D-MT) would likely have to be mediated by the President, even as Graham would have the responsibility of locking down Republican votes other than himself.
When it comes to setting the national agenda and leading the Democratic Party, the buck stops at the President’s desk, not at Harry Reid’s. The real people who need real action on immigration and climate reform need the White House to assert leadership.
Coast Guard officials said Monday afternoon that the oil spill near Louisiana was now covering more than 1,800 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico, and they have been unable to engage a mechanism that could shut off the well thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface.
She labels my blog, RealClimate, and all others in blogger Keith Kloor’s blogroll “warmist sites.” That actually is another untrue statement (he includes the anti-science website PlanetGore, for instance), but she’s annoyed he doesn’t link to the extremist anti-science site WattsUpWithThat! Seriously.
Curry 2.0 pigeonholes into the “warmist” tribe anybody who articulates the understanding of climate science that we now have ascertained based on direct observations, basic physics, and the peer-reviewed literature. But if she has a single disagreement with anyone in the anti-science tribe, she keeps it to herself.
In some ways, the problem that proponents of climate legislation face is that they’re pursuing a policy goal that is not much of a hot-button political issue. Environmental activists had a well-attended event Sunday on the Mall, with musical stars Sting and John Legend, but immigration reform advocates are likely to dwarf that turnout with dozens of rallies across the country Saturday.
Yes, the biggest single climate rally in U.S. history is dismissed by comparison with the hypothetical cumulative turnout of dozens of future rallies on immigration. Who says the media isn’t fair? Apparently preserving the health and well-being of countless future generations isn’t “hot-button” enough for the media to be interested [kind of an ironic phrase, considering the rally was for action of global warming].
The “problem” for the White House (and Senate Majority Leader Reid) is that if they push immigration first, they kill both bills — knowingly — and they break a long-standing (and oft-repeated) commitment to three major constituencies: environmentalists, clean energy types (like me), and young voters.
I am not an immigration analyst, so let me quote The New Republic‘s Jonathan Chait from Friday, writing about the possibility that “Senate Democratic leaders have decided to try to put immigration reform first on the agenda”:
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm
A new macroeconomic analysis of green economic policies finds that cutting global warming pollution will make the economy grow faster. Brad Johnson has the story in this Wonk Room repost.
The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS), building upon analysis they did of state-level climate plans for the National Governors Association, analyzed the economic and environmental impact of legislation in line with the planned Kerry-Graham-Lieberman framework. As long as state-level policies are boosted, CCS found that previous economic analyses by federal agencies and industry groups are wrong. This CCS analysis finds that instead of slowing the economy, household wealth and jobs will grow faster in a green economy. Carbon limits and efficiency-focused policies would have a net positive employment impact of 2.8 million jobs and expand the economy by $154.7 billion by 2020, while US emissions are cut to 27 percent below 1990 levels “” if strong standards are set:
A new macroeconomic analysis of green economic policies finds that cutting global warming pollution will make the economy grow faster. The Center for Climate Strategies (CCS), building upon analysis they did of state-level climate plans for the National Governors Association, analyzed the economic and environmental impact of legislation in line with the planned Kerry-Graham-Lieberman framework. As long as state-level policies are boosted instead of pre-empted, CCS found that previous economic analyses by federal agencies and industry groups are wrong. This CCS analysis finds that instead of slowing the economy, household wealth and jobs will grow faster in a green economy. Carbon limits and efficiency-focused policies would have a net positive employment impact of 2.8 million jobs and expand the economy by $154.7 billion by 2020, while US emissions are cut to 27 percent below 1990 levels — if strong standards are set:
The modeled job creation is consistent with the findings of Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, which used an input-output model to find that a green economy would create 1.7 million new jobs. The center looked at three different policy scenarios, using the industry-standard REMI Policy Insight PI+ macroeconomic model:
– Strong local, state and federal implementation of green economic policies like green building codes and smart growth
– These strong policies combined with a federal cap-and-trade system and coupled fuel fee to guarantee emissions reductions of 27 percent below 1990 levels by 2010
– Scaled-back implementation of the policies and cap-and-trade system in line with President Obama’s goal of six percent below 1990 levels, similar to the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill soon to be considered
The cap-and-trade system modeled uses full auction of permits and 75 percent of proceeds going directly back to consumers and 25 percent going to technology investments. No proceeds are dedicated to deficit reduction, as none is needed — a faster-growing economy will increase other tax receipts. Read more
Clean energy legislation, on the other hand, creates 3 new paychecks for farmers: a pay check for leasing a small portion of land for sustainable energy development like putting in a wind turbine that can earn them $3,000 to $15,000 per year, a paycheck for sequestering carbon in their soils by engaging in more sustainable and productive farming practices, and a paycheck for producing 2nd generation biofuel crops. CAP Director of Agriculture and Trade Policy Jake Caldwell has the story in this repost.
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.