Energy Bill Hits The Floor

Bill Scher

With the immigration compromise failing last week, the Senate floor has turned to energy, and senators are expected to take at least two weeks to debate and possibly amend the multi-faceted bill.

Congress isn’t ready to tackle the most critical piece of any comprehensive strategy to combat global warming, a cap on greenhouse gas emissions, though leaders have pledged to do so in this congressional session.

In turn, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid properly characterized the current bill as “just the first step. It is our roadmap, not our destination.” (Similarly, The Des Moines Register said the bill’s provisions “appear sound, but hardly visionary.”)

But we don’t know what the final bill will look like until the amendment process. As the NY Times, Washington Post and The Hill detail today, lobbyists are out in force to weaken what’s already just a first step.

And today, top Senate conservatives Mitch McConnell and Trent Lott were furiously mischaracterizing the bill on behalf of Big Oil, both saying the bill doesn’t expand “energy production” and so it won’t make us “secure.”

Wrong. The bill as presently written doesn’t expand oil production.

Washington conservatives may be surprised to know there are other kinds of energy besides oil, and they are expanded in the bill.

The bill also promotes energy efficiency to lessen our addiction to oil — and that addiction, which McConnell and Lott did nothing about when they were in charge, is why we’re not “secure.”

There’ll be lots of twists and turns as the debate continues. We’ll be staying on top of it, and making sure the lobbyists’ voices aren’t the only ones heard on the Senate floor.

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