Bill Scher

One Vote Short

According to the New York Times, renewable energy backers are just one vote short of the 60 needed to break any filibuster.

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Bill Scher

Bring On The Energy Filibuster

A majority of the Senate supports adding a provision to the Senate energy bill now under consideration that would require that 15 percent of our nation’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2020 — an increase from the current 2.4 percent, and a significant step, if only a step, towards building a clean energy future. But Senate conservatives are blocking its passage with a filibuster, as the provision lacks the support of 60 senators needed to overcome the procedural tactic. Well, that’s not quite right. The conservative minority is merely threatening a filibuster. Backers of renewable energy let these conservatives off the hook and pulled the amendment off the Senate floor before any vote, in hopes of compromising with the obstructionists.

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Bill Scher

Renewable Energy: Make Conservatives Filibuster

The following, a more fleshed-out version of my earlier energy bill post, was originally published at The Huffington Post A majority of the Senate supports adding a provision to the Senate energy bill now under consideration, requiring that 15% of our nation’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2020 — an increase from the current 2.4%, and a significant step, if only a step, towards building a clean energy future. But Senate conservatives are blocking its passage with a filibuster, as the provision lacks the support of 60 senators needed to overcome the procedural tactic. Well, that’s not quite right.

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Bill Scher

Filibuster Threat Stalls Renewable Energy Mandate

The 56 votes killing a phony “clean” electricity amendment proved to be ominous. As support for the actual clean electricity amendment is short of 60 votes, according to CQ Today(subscription req’d) conservatives are threatening a filibuster. In turn, the amendment’s backers are keeping it off the floor for now. Sen.

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Bill Scher

One Dirty Amendment Gets Scrubbed

Good news on the Senate floor today. Sen. Pete Domenici’s attempt to count coal and nuclear towards clean energy standards for electricity was beaten back in the Senate just minutes ago, with 56 senators voting to kill the amendment, and only 39 supporting. Still remains to be seen if Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s competing amendment, mandating 15% of our electricity to come from actual renewable energy by 2020, will be adopted.

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Bill Scher

Cleaner Liquid Coal?

This morning, the Senate is continuing to debate on the floor renewable energy standards for electricity, but according to Environment & Energy Daily (subscription required), much maneuvering is happening off the floor about liquid coal. E&ED reports that: Development of the proposal was fluid yesterday, several aides said. One Senate aide familiar with the talks said the program would provide loans for carbon capture and sequestration equipment at coal-to-liquids plants, with a cap of $10 billion. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) told reporters yesterday he may be willing to accept a coal-based fuels provision.

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Robert Borosage

Bank Shot: Bush Shafts Enron’s Victims

Wall Street’s investment banks just got another one step closer to making defrauding investors an accepted line of business. And Enron’s employees who lost their pensions and the small investors who got fleeced in the Enron frauds just got shafted again – this time at the urging of President George W. Bush. Wall Street’s most powerful investment banks and their friends in high places lobbied the U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement to reject the recommendation of the Securities and Exchange Commission that the Justice Department support defrauded investors in their appeal to the Supreme Court. The case before the Supreme Court is called Stoneridge v. Scientific-Atlanta, but the Court decision will directly impact the millions of victims of Enron’s collapse — and say much about the honesty of U.S. markets.

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Bill Scher

Will the Energy Bill Get Dirty? (Part II)

Right now on the Senate floor, senators are debating dueling amendments from Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., on a possible “portfolio standard,” which the Apollo Alliance describes as “setting the minimum amount of renewable energy that must be developed by retail electricity vendors each year.” Bingaman’s amendment would set a national standard of 15% of our electricity to come from renewable sources — like wind, solar and geothermal power — by 2020. 20-25% would be ideal, but 15% is a significant step forward. Domenici’s version sets the standard at 20%, but would count electricity from coal and nuclear. That won’t do anything to advance wind, solar and geothermal power and move us towards a clean energy future.

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Bill Scher

Will the Energy Bill Get Dirty?

Both the New York Times and Washington Post report today that there is a move to include in the Senate energy bill $10 billion of federal loans for liquid coal fuel, raising concerns that the bill will set us back in the fight against global warming. The Post characterizes the proposal as loans “to pay for capturing and storing greenhouse gases produced by plants that would turn coal into liquid transportation fuels or chemicals.” That’s sounds green, but it’s misleading. As the Natural Resources Defense Council found (PDF file) even if you sequester emissions from the plants, liquid coal will still produce more greenhouse gases than petroleum gas, largely because you’re not capturing anything once the liquid coal is burned in your car. However there was another development yesterday, as Sen.

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Bill Scher

Green-Collar Victory

The Senate energy bill floor debate got off to a good start, as an Apollo Alliance-backed amendment sailed through on a voice vote, authorizing resources to train workers for high-skill, clean energy jobs. This was a major theme of the recent Apollo Summit. While conservatives seek to prevent environmental progress by claiming it would hurt the economy, the reality is a clean energy economy creates millions of good-paying, sustainable jobs. But to take advantage of the economic and environmental opportunities, we urgently need to invest in green-collar job training. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who introduced the amendment, put out a celebratory news release, quoting Apollo Alliance President Jerome Ringo: …the Senate adopted a job-training proposal by Senators Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Busting The “Conservative Nation” Myth

There is more ammunition progressive leaders can use to push for a bold policy agenda in a new report by the Campaign for America’s Future and Media Matters for America. That report says what we know instinctively but too many in Congress and in the political establishment seem unable or unwilling to accept: that the American majority is, in fact, a progressive majority. Eric Lotke, research director for the Campaign for America’s Future, spells it out in a commentary for TomPaine.com: “America is more progressive than people think—or, more precisely, than the conventional wisdom would lead them to believe.

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Bill Scher

The TBA Interview: Tracy Van Slyke

Over at the Take Back America blog, we talk to Program Coordinator for the Media Consortium Tracy Van Slyke, who will addressing the conference about media reform. Click here to read that interview, and others in the TBA Interview series.

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Bill Scher

Green-Collar Jobs Amendment Passes

The Senate energy bill floor debate got off to a good start, as an Apollo Alliance-backed amendment sailed through on a voice vote, authorizing resources to train workers for high-skill, clean energy jobs. This was a major theme of the recent Apollo Summit. While conservatives seek to prevent environmental progress by claiming it would hurt the economy, the reality is a clean energy economy creates millions of good-paying, sustainable jobs. But to take advantage of the economic and environmental opportunities, we urgently need to invest in green-collar job training. Sen.

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Bill Scher

Energy Bill Hits The Floor

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.

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Bill Scher

Presidential Straw Poll!

Big Take Back America news: Politico.com will be administering one of the first presidential straw polls at the conference. Find out more at the Take Back America blog.

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Bill Scher

The TBA Interview: Diane Archer

Over at the Take Back America blog, the next installment of The TBA Interview is with Medicare Rights Center founder Diane Archer, as she talks about her Take Back America session, “Health Care For All.” Check it out.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:McCain Still Dodging

It was another 0-for-3 week on the Sunday shows, as the hosts failed to ask any of the Watchdog’s questions about the war in Iraq and President Bush’s greenwashing at the G-8 summit. Here’s what we wanted to know: • For Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (ABC’s This Week): At this past week’s presidential debate, a woman who lost her brother in Iraq asked you and the other candidates what you would do to “safely bring our troops home.” NBC talked to her afterwards and reported, “she never did get the answer she was looking for.” (See the video at ThinkProgress.) Why were you unable to answer her directly and say what you would to bring our troops home? Stephanopoulos did not force McCain to respond to the citizen questioner from last week’s presidential debate.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:McCain Still Dodging

It was another 0-for-3 week on the Sunday shows, as the hosts failed to ask any of the Watchdog’s questions about the war in Iraq and President Bush’s greenwashing at the G-8 summit. Here’s what we wanted to know: • For Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (ABC’s This Week): At this past week’s presidential debate, a woman who lost her brother in Iraq asked you and the other candidates what you would do to “safely bring our troops home.” NBC talked to her afterwards and reported, “she never did get the answer she was looking for.” (See the video at ThinkProgress.) Why were you unable to answer her directly and say what you would to bring our troops home? Stephanopoulos did not force McCain to respond to the citizen questioner from last week’s presidential debate.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:McCain Still Dodging

It was another 0-for-3 week on the Sunday shows, as the hosts failed to ask any of the Watchdog’s questions about the war in Iraq and President Bush’s greenwashing at the G-8 summit. Here’s what we wanted to know: • For Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (ABC’s This Week): At this past week’s presidential debate, a woman who lost her brother in Iraq asked you and the other candidates what you would do to “safely bring our troops home.” NBC talked to her afterwards and reported, “she never did get the answer she was looking for.” (See the video at ThinkProgress.) Why were you unable to answer her directly and say what you would to bring our troops home? Stephanopoulos did not force McCain to respond to the citizen questioner from last week’s presidential debate.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:McCain Still Dodging

It was another 0-for-3 week on the Sunday shows, as the hosts failed to ask any of the Watchdog’s questions about the war in Iraq and President Bush’s greenwashing at the G-8 summit. Here’s what we wanted to know: • For Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (ABC’s This Week): At this past week’s presidential debate, a woman who lost her brother in Iraq asked you and the other candidates what you would do to “safely bring our troops home.” NBC talked to her afterwards and reported, “she never did get the answer she was looking for.” (See the video at ThinkProgress.) Why were you unable to answer her directly and say what you would to bring our troops home? Stephanopoulos did not force McCain to respond to the citizen questioner from last week’s presidential debate.

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