In a press conference Friday, House energy committee ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX) crudely described his plan to scuttle the Democratic clean energy and climate bill next week. After several weeks of brokering compromise with Democrats representing the interests of polluting industry, chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) has released the text of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) for committee markup beginning Monday. However, Barton claimed that Waxman “doesn’t have the votes to pass the bill”:
He has got a chance to get the votes. If you are familiar with Texas Hold ‘em poker, he doesn’t have the nuts. It is not a done deal. Nor do I. . . We will see which has the other by the nuts next week.
Even though he began with a poker analogy, “Barton couldn’t help himself” and vulgarly described his intent to obstruct the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill. And he indeed intends to play hardball: Barton and his fellow Republicans have released a list of 450 poison-pill amendments that aim to make the debate over energy reform about the costs of change or attacks on supporters of reform, instead of the risks of inaction.
On Thursday, Barton told Politico:
This is not going to be one of gentlemanly, pro forma markups. We’re prepared for it to take weeks or months.