Last week, President Obama and Vice President Biden urged the Democrats on the House energy committee during a White House meeting to take “quick action” on comprehensive green economy legislation. Negotiations over how much industries will be subsidized to make the transition to clean energy have stalled subcommittee negotiations over the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act. In a moment of candor, ACES co-sponsor Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the chair of the subcommittee in question, explained that fellow Democrats acting as representatives for climate polluters were holding up the bill:
If we can reach agreement with the coal sector, with the steel, with the auto sector, with the refining sector on our committee, which is very representative of the Congress as a whole, then we believe that’ll be a template for passage in the Senate, as well. Because the agreements we’ll reach will be the very same agreements that those industry leaders … will be able to represent to senators are the basis for passage of legislation that they can support.
Members of Markey’s energy and environment subcommittee with strong ties to those sectors include Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA: $50,942 from steel), Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN: $113,033 from auto), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT: $177,946 from coal), and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX: $330,613 from oil). The trade publication E&E; News has identified 13 members of the 34-member subcommittee as swing votes. These “maybe” officials have received an average of $678,570 in lifetime contributions from those sectors, as opposed to $149,397 for the nine “yes” votes:
Average lifetime contributions from the automotive, steel & chemical, oil & gas, and mining & utility sectors to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Energy & Environment Subcommittee (Center for Responsive Politics). Position on Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act estimated by E&E; News. Chart by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
The average energy committee member opposed or wavering on the green economy legislation has received six times as much lifetime climate polluter cash as the average supporter:
Carbon-sector contributions to members of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. Click to enlarge.
The obstructionist politicians working to weaken the ACES Act are ironically threatening the future of the industries who fill their campaign coffers. The nation needs to set strong standards for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and global warming pollution in order to compete in the 21st century economy. “Limiting greenhouse gas emissions will enhance U.S. competitiveness,” Center for American Progress senior fellow Jake Caldwell writes. “A carbon cap-and-trade program will reduce emissions and send a predictable price signal on carbon, which in turn will spur major investment in energy efficient and low-carbon technologies, foster innovation and upgrades, and create jobs and export led growth in clean energy technology.”
When the incomplete draft of the ACES Act was unveiled at the end of March, co-sponsors Markey and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, indicated that they planned to conduct a markup of the bill in Markey’s subcommittee before going to the full committee. After the meeting with Obama, Waxman announced that he could potentially bypass Markey’s subcommittee “and mark up the legislation before the entire 59-member panel.”
E&E; News Projected Vote Breakdown For Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act:
Henry Waxman (D-CA)Ed Markey (D-MA)Frank Pallone (D-NJ)Anna Eshoo (D-CA)Lois Capps (D-CA)Jane Harman (D-CA)Janice Schakowsky (D-IL)Jay Inslee (D-WA)Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)Anthony Weiner (D-NY)Doris Matsui (D-CA)Donna Christensen (D-VI)Kathy Castor (D-FL)John Sarbanes (D-MD)Christopher Murphy (D-CN)Jerry McNerney (D-CA)Bruce Braley (D-IA)Peter Welch (D-VT)
John Dingell (D-MI)Rick Boucher (D-VA)Bart Gordon (D-TN)Bobby Rush (D-IL)Bart Stupak (D-MI)Eliot Engel (D-NY)Gene Green (D-TX)Diana DeGette (D-CO)Mike Doyle (D-PA)Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)Mike Ross (D-AR)Jim Matheson (D-UT)G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)Charlie Melancon (D-LA)John Barrow (D-GA)Baron Hill (D-IN)Zach Space (D-OH)Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)Betty Sutton (D-OH)
Joe Barton (R-TX)Fred Upton (R-MI)Ralph Hall (R-TX)Cliff Stearns (R-FL)Nathan Deal (R-GA)Ed Whitfield (R-KY)John Shimkus (R-IL)John Shadegg (R-AZ)Roy Blunt (R-MO)Steve Buyer (R-IN)George Radanovich (R-CA)Joseph Pitts (R-PA)Greg Walden (R-OR)Lee Terry (R-NE)Michael Rogers (R-MI)Sue Myrick (R-NC)John Sullivan (R-OK)Tim Murphy (R-PA)Mike Burgess (R-TX)Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)Phil Gingrey (R-GA)Steve Scalise (R-LA)