Senate Democrats are downplaying the likelihood for passage of a cap-and-trade national energy tax in the wake of the presidential speech calling for using the Gulf Oil crisis as a means to push through the unpopular bill.
“The climate bill isn’t going to stop the oil leak,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in an interview with Business Week. “The first thing you have to do is stop the oil leak.”
Ouch. That’s gotta hurt the president’s plan.
In an election year, Democrats are unlikely to push through legislation that would further cripple the economy and cause energy costs to “necessarily skyrocket,” as once described by then presidential candidate Barack Obama.
“There’s not a great call for it in the Democratic caucus,” said West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller in the report. Rockefeller has argued against taking up the bill.
“The front wheel of anything we do on energy is going to be addressing regulations and safety with respect to offshore drilling, particularly deep-well drilling,” said Senator Byron Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in deep re-election trouble in Nevada, said in the same report through his spokesman that the crippling cap and trade national energy tax provisions were unlikely to be included in legislation this year unless there was significant Republican support.
That Republican support does not exist.
“Americans are saying two things at the moment: stop this spill and clean it up, said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “So with all due respect to the White House, the wetlands of the Bayou, the beaches of the coast, and our waters in the Gulf are far more important than the status of the Democrats’ legislative agenda in Washington. Americans want us to stop the oil spill first. And until this leak is plugged, they’re not in any mood to hand over even more power in the form of a new national energy tax to a government that, so far, hasn’t lived up to their expectations in its response to this crisis.”