Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) is “sick” of the “insider baseball crap” dominating the Senate debate over global warming and energy reform. In an interview with Grist, the first-term congressman stated in no uncertain terms that the country is at risk from global warming and our economy is at risk of losing the clean energy race. Like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Perriello has not one lick of sympathy for those in the Senate who deny these threats:
That’s more insider baseball crap. I don’t really care. I’m sick of starting with what can we get through the Senate; let’s start with what solves the damn problem. Until the Senate gets its head out of its rear end and starts to see the crisis we’re in, our country is literally at risk. Our economy is at risk, because these jobs are being created overseas. It should have the same urgency with this problem that it had bailing out Wall Street. We are swearing an oath to do what’s necessary to protect this country, not do what’s necessary to get a bill through the Senate.
Perriello repeatedly expressed his belief that Congressional inaction on jobs, national security, and scientific “challenge of our era” is due to a lack of courage and responsibility:
— This is the challenge of our time—the jobs opportunity, the national security challenge, the scientific challenge of our era. Any plan that uses market forces to signal a carbon-constrained environment is going to move us in the right direction. People who don’t support this kind of aggressive energy independence are just selling Americans short.
— We’re so far behind China, Europe, and other areas in the energy jobs of the future because neither party has had the guts to take this on. There are so many spineless people in D.C.
— Every week the Senate doesn’t act, it either freezes that investment and innovation or it sends it overseas. We’re giving up jobs. The Senate—the ridiculous tactics of the Republicans and the timidity of the Democrats—is standing in the way of the kind of job creation we need.
— Unfortunately, good ideas, ideas that could save our country, sometimes take 30 minutes to explain and only 30 seconds to demagogue. In between those two things is leadership, and we haven’t had the moral courage to take this on.
Perriello’s principled support for cap-and-trade legislation has made him a target of Republicans and polluters, who have mocked him with ads about snowstorms and flooded his office with forged letters of opposition.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.