The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are hosting the first in a series of national public hearings in Detroit today regarding proposed standards for model-year 2017-25 vehicles that would require automakers to work toward producing a fleet that averages 54.5 miles per gallon of gasoline. Over 100 people are speaking in the marathon hearing. United Auto Workers President Bob King stood united with National Wildlife Federation president Larry Schweiger and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) in support of the “sensible, achievable and needed” standards.
Stories tagged with “John Dingell”
Now, more lawmakers on Capitol Hill are speaking out. Twenty-six House members have signed onto a letter being circulated by Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI) that expresses “[deep concern] that the stated narrow scope and underlying premises of these hearings unfairly stigmatizes and alienates Muslim Americans.” The letter, a copy of which was provided to ThinkProgress, asks King to “reconsider” the hearings:
Dear Chairman King:
We are writing regarding the Homeland Security Committee’s upcoming hearings, which you have stated will focus exclusively on radicalization among Muslim Americans and homegrown terrorism. We agree that Congress and all levels of government have a duty to protect America from terrorism, whether from abroad or homegrown. We are, however, deeply concerned that the stated narrow scope and underlying premises of these hearings unfairly stigmatizes and alienates Muslim Americans. We ask that you reconsider the scope of these hearings and instead examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist beliefs, rather than unfairly focusing on just one religious group.
We believe that the tone and focus of these hearings runs contrary to our nation’s values. Muslim Americans contribute to our nation’s wellbeing in many professions including as doctors, engineers, lawyers, firefighters, business entrepreneurs, teachers, police officers and Members of Congress. Their hard work helps to make our country exceptional.
Signatures are still being collected until the close of business tomorrow. Current co-signers of the letter are Reps. Baldwin (D-WI), Blumenauer (D-OR), Chu (D-CA), Conyers (D-MI), Edwards (D-MD), Frank (D-MA), Fudge (D-OH), Grijalva (D-AZ), Gutierrez (D-IL), Hirono (D-HI), Holt (D-NJ), Honda (D-CA), Jackson (D-IL), Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Kucinich (D-OH), Lee (D-CA), McCollum (D-MN), McDermott (D-WA), Meeks (D-FL), Moran (D-VA), Polis (D-CO), Rush (D-IL), Schakowsky (D-IL), Scott (D-VA), Serrano (D-NY), and Waters (D-CA).
Elsewhere, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), one of two Muslim members of Congress, and who used to work in the anti-terrorism unit of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, told NPR that he also felt the hearings are too narrowly focused. “Are there Islamic bozos out there who really want to see harm done to Americans? Absolutely,” Carson said. “And we have to act and isolate the threat and deal with the threat effectively. However, there are other groups, particularly racial supremacist groups, who pose a greater threat to our internal security.”
The full letter is after the jump: Read more
Responding to the epic BP oil disaster killing off the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) has called for a suspension of all oil leasing and drilling in the United States. “I’ve been a supporter of offshore oil and drilling,” Dingell said in a May 27 hearing on the BP oil spill, “and I must say the oil companies are making this support increasingly difficult.” His concern that the environmental laws he helped write are not being obeyed by the oil industry or enforced by the government has made the senior-most Democrat on the House energy committee believe that it is necessary to “establish a complete moratorium on all leasing and drilling activity”:
Today I am forced to come to a difficult conclusion. We need to establish a complete moratorium on all leasing and drilling activity until it is established that all of it was done and is being done in full compliance with the environmental laws, and with full attention to safety, and to avoid the kind of disastrous spills were now seeing in the Gulf.
A long-time senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Dingell “either authored or was a major force” in enacting “the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the original Clean Water Act, the 1990 Clean Air Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act.” At the same time, Dingell has also been a major advocate for the automotive and energy industries, opposing regulations for seat belts, catalytic converters, fuel economy, and global warming pollution.
Conservatives are celebrating that influential Detroit lawmaker Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, argued Friday that “nobody knows” that a cap on global warming pollution amounts to a “great big” tax. Questioning Vice President Al Gore, Dingell argued that Congress needs to choose between “cap and trade” and an “energy tax” to finance a green recovery:
We’ve got to finance this and we’ve got to enforce it. Cap and trade is one mechanism, an energy tax is another. Every economist says that a carbon tax is a better, more efficient, fairer way of doing it. The Europeans have had two, maybe three fine failures in their application of cap and trade. How do we avoid the mistakes that they made? And how do we come up with something that gives us the best? Nobody in this country realizes that cap and trade is a tax, and it’s a great big one! I want to get a bill that works — how do we choose the best course?
Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), the National Review, the Drudge Report, and other right-wingers have seized on Dingell’s comments. Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) spokesman pushed the comments to Politico, claiming: “Chairman Dingell agrees with what Republicans have been saying all along: the Democrat cap and trade bill is a national energy tax on working families.” However, Dingell has proposed both carbon-tax and cap-and-trade legislation to stop giving polluters the right to continue polluting for free.
Vice President Gore responded that both a carbon tax and market-based cap can address the climate crisis while strengthening the economy:
I have for twenty years supported a CO2 tax that’s given back to the people so that it’s revenue-neutral but accomplishes the desired effect. But I’ve never proposed it as a substitute for cap and trade. I’m in favor of both. And the number of countries that have done the best job of addressing the climate crisis and strengthening their economies have in fact put both in place. But I believe the cap-and-trade approach is the essential first step partly because it is the only basis on which we can envision a truly global agreement, because it’s very hard to imagine a harmonized global tax.
Countries like Denmark, Norway, and Holland which have both a carbon tax and cap-and-trade are indeed weathering the global recession much better than countries like the United States. In fact, Denmark is both the most taxed country on earth and the best country for business in the world.
It is our nation’s dependence on polluting fuels that acts as a tax on society — “a great big one.” As corporations pollute for free, everyone else pays for the disease, asthma, heat waves, droughts, floods, storms, sea level rise, and economic and national insecurity that results. Dingell has spent his political career misguidedly fighting pollution and efficiency standards on behalf of the domestic automotive industry, putting Detroit on the verge of bankruptcy. As millions of Americans understand, it’s time for Washington to repower America with laws that reward work instead of pollution.
Roll Call reports that senior Congressional Black Caucus members John Lewis (D-GA) and John Conyers (D-MI) have announced their support for John Dingell’s (D-MI) continued chairmanship of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced he was seeking the chair after the elections, spurring Dingell to wage a highly visible campaign to keep his seat. Dingell’s announced supporters now include seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus, twelve Blue Dogs, two Michigan freshmen, and eight others.
In October, Dingell and Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) released “draft climate legislation after nearly two years of hearings and discussions. In the accompanying letter, they indicated significantly different priorities and emissions goals than those of Sen. Barack Obama or the majority of the Democratic caucus, who signed on to a letter of progressive principles circulated by Waxman, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jay Inslee (D-WA).
Today, following news coverage of recent criticism of the draft plan by Center for American Progress senior fellow Robert Sussman, Dingell has released a defense to his fellow members, arguing that his plan “aligns with the principles and goals” of the Waxman-Markey-Inslee letter. Dingell further pledged his cooperation to ensuring any final legislation would embody the letter’s principles.
The text of this letter and accompanying press release follows: Read more
Our guest blogger is Robert M. Sussman, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and former Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Sussman is now overseeing EPA transition planning for President-elect Barack Obama.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairmen John Dingell (D-MI) and Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality Chairman Rick Boucher (D-VA) unveiled their long-awaited draft of climate change legislation early last month. Longtime allies of the auto and coal industries, Dingell and Boucher have nevertheless produced a thoughtful and serious effort to grapple with the complexities of creating a cap-and-trade system. As they say in their memo to the full Energy and Commerce Committee, “politically, scientifically, legally and morally, the question has been settled: regulation of greenhouse gases in the U.S. is coming.”
The draft bill has a number of strengths for which Dingell and Boucher deserve credit. It is economy-wide, covering 87 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It sets a long-term target of reducing emissions by 80 percent of 2005 levels by 2050 that corresponds with prevailing scientific consensus. It contains strong energy efficiency programs. It uses the allowance allocation process both to stimulate low-carbon energy technologies and provide consumers relief from high energy prices. It provides for strict oversight of the carbon markets to prevent manipulation and assure transparency. And it creates a “strategic reserve” of allowances that would be auctioned if allowance prices are too high, but avoids a “safety valve” that would suspend the emission cap if allowance prices exceed a predetermined level.
Despite these positive features, two aspects of the bill—the absence of allowance auctioning in the cap-and-trade program and weak emission reduction targets for 2020—raise serious concerns and should not be the starting point for legislative action in the new Congress. Read more
On Friday, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) announced his whip team, the members of the Democratic caucus who will attempt to wrangle the votes needed to maintain his chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee when the Democrats make leadership decisions on November 17 and 18. In addition to the 26-member whip team, Dingell has received the support of House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY). Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who is challenging Dingell for the post, has not made the names of his whip team public, although Reps. Howard Berman (CA), Jim Cooper (TN), and George Miller (CA) have announced their support for his candidacy.
The oil and coal industries have overwhelmingly supported Dingell’s team, and the members’ voting records reflect that. On average, Dingell and his supporters have received nearly six times as much money from Big Oil as Waxman’s team, and nine times as much money from King Coal. Dingell’s supporters have voted with Big Oil’s agenda 2.7 times as often as Waxman’s people, according to Oil Change International’s vote tracker.
|DINGELL V. WAXMAN SUPPORTER AVERAGE|
|Averages are for each representative and their respective announced supporters. Donations are for 2000-2008. Information from Oil Change International’s Follow the Oil Money and Follow the Coal Money.|
Twelve of the 26 members of Dingell’s whip team are Blue Dogs, the self-described conservatives of the caucus. Seven Dingell backers signed the Waxman-Markey-Inslee statement of climate principles last month: Robert Andrews (NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), Charlie Rangel (NY), Bobby Rush (IL), and Ellen Tauscher (CA).
UPDATE: Gristmill‘s Kate Sheppard notes that yet another industry representative has weighed in to support Dingell. “Dingell really has a very good understanding of the industry,” David Cole, chair of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI, told Bloomberg. Cole said a Waxman chairmanship would be “very unfortunate” and “the fur would really fly.”
Coal and oil industry donations from 2000 to 2008 to Dingell, Waxman, and their supporters: Read more
This week, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) announced his intent to replace Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) as chair of the House Energy Commerce & Committee, which has jurisdiction over global warming legislation. On Thursday, Dingell told WJR Radio’s Frank Beckmann that Waxman is an “anti-manufacturing left-wing Democrat” with a “serious lack of understanding of people in the auto industry and manufacturing generally.”
Representatives of major greenhouse gas-emitting industries have also recoiled at the prospect of Waxman being in charge instead of Dingell.
R. Bruce Josten, the top lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “took issue with the idea of a Waxman-led committee given the Californian’s support for far more aggressive greenhouse emission limits compared with Dingell,” telling E&E News, “It’s scary, isn’t it?”
The Chamber’s public comments reinforce the anonymous “refining industry insider” who told E&E News “all hell will break loose legislatively” if Waxman won.
The coal lobby has also weighed in on this dispute. Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, told Bloomberg News that Waxman likely would be “a very slow learner on the importance of coal for affordable energy. It would have been problematic in the best of times to have Mr. Waxman’s views prevail.”
Climate Progress’s Joe Romm responds, “If actually trying to prevent catastrophic global warming is ‘scary’ then all I can say is ‘Boo!‘”
UPDATE: Josten and Popovich are the top figures in the Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth, the front group formed in 2001 to promote the Cheney energy bill.
John Dingell (D-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA)
According to a report in National Journal’s CongressDaily, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has sufficient votes in the Democratic caucus to win a vote to replace Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman announced his intent to take the chairmanship yesterday, telling reporters, “I think I have a good chance of winning.”
A likely measure of the depth of Waxman’s support is last month’s statement of climate principles, signed by 152 members, or two-thirds of the Democratic caucus, on October 2. The letter, led by Waxman, Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jay Inslee (D-WA), details much stronger standards than were found in the draft legislation Dingell produced the following week.
The National Journal reports:
Dingell is expected to win support from Majority Leader Hoyer, Midwestern Democrats, members of the Congressional Black Caucus — who typically back the seniority — and Blue Dog Coalition members.
The Blue Dogs are self-identified “conservative Democrats,” many of whom disproportionately supported Bush’s agenda. Dingell, it should be noted, is not a Blue Dog and is a strongly progressive voice on many issues.
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), the coal-country chairman of the Energy & Commerce subcommittee that controls greenhouse pollution legislation, echoed the conservative mantra that this election provided no mandate for change. Supporting Dingell, Boucher warned that it would be problematic “if the first action of the new majority … is a dramatic move to the left.”
However, this is not an ideological battle. For example, Waxman has secured the support of senior Blue Dog Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), who told reporters he is “on Henry’s whip team.” Both Waxman and Dingell have made economic justice and public health central planks of their careers. Their differences are strategic, not ideological. Dingell’s work on climate change has emphasized the approach of protecting industry from economic harm, whereas Waxman believes that robust economic health will come from the transition to a clean energy economy.
UPDATE: National Journal’s Dan Friedman has updated his report with details of a call with Dingell supporters who “forcefully rejected” the claim Waxman has sufficient support to oust Dingell:
“These claims that Mr. Waxman has the votes are just not true,” said Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, D-Mich. “There is no doubt in my mind at the end of the day that Chairman Dingell will still be referred to as Chairman Dingell.” Stupak and Reps. John Barrow, D-Ga., and Mike Doyle, D-Pa. said Waxman has not made a clear case for why he should replace Dingell. “I asked [Waxman] quite pointedly what his basis for challenging Mr. Dingell was,” Doyle said. “He was unable to give me a single reason why he thought Mr. Dingell shouldn’t be chairman other than the fact that he [Waxman] would be a better chairman.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) “is calling senior Democrats to seek the top spot” on the influential Energy and Commerce Committee, which currently belongs to Rep. John Dingell (D-MI). Roll Call reports, “The move marks a major showdown between two Democratic powerhouses, with implications for a host of major legislation next year from health care to global warming to renewable energy.” Brad Johnson compares and contrasts Waxman and Dingell’s record on global warming.