Energy bill: passes, thanks to GOP

It's tough to stop a corporate welfare bill - unless you've got a hot-button poison pill to deploy. (The Schumer Amendment with the bankruptcy bill, for instance.)

And Harry brought home HR 6 on time (according to his latest schedule, at least!).

Of course, that was minus the RPS standards for power generation from S 1321, via the Bingaman Amendment SA 1537). And the Baucus tax package got killed, too.

But - we cannot ask for miracles.

However, Detroit scored a partial victory by watering down the CAFE standards provision that was passed - sneakily by a voice vote, so who voted isn't on the record. (Levin and Stabenow opposed cloture, though.)

Overall, I think Harry picks up points for his handling of the energy bill so far.

But - he only managed it with a little help from his friends:

No fewer than 19 GOP voted for cloture. And 6 Dems voted against.

More analysis when the font of roll call stats gets back on the clock.

There's more...

Energy bill: Harry cracks the whip

There's no doubt that HR 6 looks a mess in both Houses: Pelosi and Dingell have reached a truce on his text (the provision preempting state vehicle emission standards has been dropped - for now), but the political forces at work won't be held for long; while, in the Senate, there is (I believe) no 60 votes for the Bingaman RPS provision (15% of electricity from renewables), let alone for any of the matters (eg CTL) yet to be dealt with.

Meanwhile, in the Senate Finance Committee (which is preparing text for a tax title in HR 6) Kyl, Schumer and Feinstein are looking to get a suspension of the tariff on Brazilian ethanol, which is supporting high US corn prices right now.

And Detroit has been busting balls on the Hill for a watered down CAFE standard: little wonder that

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., brandishing a letter from the auto manufacturers' lobbying group outlining its opposition to the Senate provision, plans to join several other senators close to the auto industry and offer a more modest proposal, possibly as early as Tuesday.

Now, I'm deliberately not getting into a play-by-play on HR 6 (for many good reasons): this pot=pourri is merely to illustrate the tough row to hoe that Harry has picked out for himself.

Why did he choose to go this way, with an omnibus bill rattling the cages of all the big energy-related interests? Is he running to lose with it, either to junk energy for this year (this Congress?) or go with a much more modest bill? Is this all kabuki, and he's got a deal in his drawer to pull out once everyone's had their fun?

'...they said Harry was mad.' 'Who's Harry?' 'Senate Majority Leader - he is mad...'

There's more...

Energy bill: what the Sam Hill...?

I've had to take my eye off this particular ball for a day or so - and the confusion (my confusion, at least - hasn't exactly diminished in the meantime!)

You go to the HR 6 actions page to find that there's been three solid days through Thursday of debates on amendments. (As solid as Senate debate ever gets, that is.)

Inhofe, we talked about.

Next up (of the controversial amendments) was the pairing of Bingaman and Domenici (SA 1537 and 1538) to establish a Federal portfolio standard for electricity generation: Bingaman called renewable portfolio standard, Domenici clean portfolio standard. The big difference: CPS includes nuclear, RPS does not.

A motion to table Domenici (a second-degree amendment to Bingaman) passed with a similar lineup to that which killed Inhofe.

There's more...

Mammoth energy bill up next - man the pumps!

Just two short years ago, our friends in the GOP masterminded a landmark piece of corporate welfare known to admirers as the No Lobbyist Left Behind Act.

(More prosaically, S 6 (109th).)

Now, it seems, Uncle Harry has decided to vindicate his leadership by producing an even bigger piece of corporate welfare:

There's more...

Energy vultures are circling the Capitol

Congressional lobbyists feed off the insecurity, desperation, timeservingness and greed of MCs.

And it looks as if the 110th will be no less sumptuous a buffet than previous Congresses.

There's the ethanolicious farm bill, of course, that's being concocted by Peterson's House Ag; and (I'm tipped by a Stoller piece) then there's S 1321 (the puckishly named Energy Savings Act - guess who'll be making the savings?) reported out by Bingaman's Senate Energy.

There's more...


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