Democrats push ahead without GOP, now hurry up and wait
On one side of the table were the Democrats. On the other side, where the Republicans normally would have been, there were only empty leather chairs. This was the strange scene in a hearing room on
Normally, both parties at least attend these meetings. But this time, Republicans decided to boycott. Publicly, they said their main reason for playing hooky was that the bill, which would cap greenhouse gas emissions and pump billions into clean-energy technologies, hadn't been fully analyzed by the
Democrats scoffed, saying an "unprecedented amount" of examination had already been done. The
The Republicans' absence made for great political theater. But the conflict goes much deeper. As the healthcare debate has shown, cost estimates by government economists can have a huge impact on public opinion and political momentum. If a bill costs too much, political support drops; if it comes in under budget, support rises. Yet these analyses almost always rest upon assumptions about future scenarios, which, if changed, can greatly alter the bill's bottom line.
And it's here, in this murky world of assumptions and statistics, that Republicans seem to think they can win points on climate change. As Sen.
In a recent letter to
As it turns out, the legislation is probably going to have to wait for more than five weeks for real action, anyway. Because the bill touches on everything from agriculture to foreign policy, other committees need to give their input before it can go to the floor for a vote.
One important player will be the Finance Committee, chaired by Sen.
This week he struck a slightly different tone. On Tuesday, he said that he is "committed to passing meaningful, balanced climate change legislation" and admitted that he's seen the impact of climate change in his home state. "We can see the consequences in decreased snowpack and lower stream flows," he said.
Whether he'll move quickly, though, is a different story. In the healthcare debate, Baucus forced the
Why Some People Go Green and Others Do not
Why do some people love the Toyota Prius, but others couldn't care less about driving a hybrid vehicle? Why do some of your friends spend hours trying to reduce their carbon footprint, while others wonder what's the point of even recycling?
Despite pessimistic signs on Capitol Hill and internationally regarding action by the United States on climate change initiatives, the head of the World Wildlife Fund today predicted that the December climate summit in Copenhagen will draw up a framework for action that will prompt Congress to move on the critical issue
Climate Change Bill's Murky Battleground: Assumptions and Statistics | Kent Garber
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