Energy Bill – House Senate Ping Pong

As near as I can tell the The Energy Independence and Security Act, the result of very hard slogging by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and multiple players, elected and otherwise, did not come to a vote in the House today, though articles in the morning press predicted it. In fact, it may be that there was still tweaking going on, which of course has to be tweaked equally in the Senate which would vote on it after the House passes it. The President, natch, is growling veto. Pelosi sent this letter to Allan B. Hubbard Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director, National Economic Council.

“The Energy Independence and Security Act” addresses the specific issues you have raised with earlier versions of the legislation:

— Our legislation will contain an ambitious national renewable fuel standard that will significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil;

— Our legislation will “reform and strengthen the fuel economy standard” for cars and trucks, setting a tight goal of 35 miles per gallon as a fleetwide average by 2020;

— Our bill will “increase domestic energy production” by promoting homegrown renewable fuels and domestic renewable energy;

— Our bill will not contain specific provisions that would affect our relations with other countries;

— Our bill will not impose price controls;

Pelosi to Hubbard for more….

Says David Roberts at Grist:

Everyone I’ve talked to that’s in or around the process says the same thing: Nancy Pelosi is a hero on this bill. She gets this stuff in her gut. It’s in large part her work and persistence that have made it happen.

The big deal happened in the Senate some weeks ago. That’s where the Big Three automakers went to reprise their opposition to seat-belts fight of some decades ago. No higher mileage standards! Oh my God, have you no pity? They were met with some sobering news.

“I think the issue is over. I think you’ve lost that issue,” Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., told them bluntly. “I think your position is ‘yesterday forever.’ ”

After months of backstage negotiations, the automakers agreed last week to the first major fuel economy increase in decades – raising the requirement to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 – after securing a few concessions from lawmakers.

Senator Feinstein, as bad as she’s been on civil liberties and voting yes on last century judges, has been good on hammering the Hummer Crowd with necessity.

“The handwriting was on the wall,” Feinstein said. “They knew there was a risk the next administration could have a position that was even tougher.”

If you want to watch Barbara Boxer, Chair of the Senate Environment Committee, work through mark-ups, and not too far in, Bernie Sanders click here.

Bloomberg reports that debate in the House will start tomorrow, the 6th.

The House measure would increase government mandates for the use of alternative fuels, including ethanol. The legislation would raise fuel economy standards 40 percent for cars and light trucks by 2020, to 35 miles per gallon. It would also require investor-owned utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources, such as wind, solar or biomass, by 2020.

President George W. Bush’s advisers have said they will recommend a veto of any measure that raises taxes on the oil industry or includes a federal renewable power requirement.

Roy Blount R-MO,
minority whip just hasn’t felt enough climate pain to convince him.

House Democrats “take a bill that has the potential to attract bipartisan support, they execute a massive overreach that far outstrips that support, and then – when they’ve alienated just about every one of their moderates – they ram the legislation through the House and declare victory as if it had even the slightest chance of becoming law,” said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, the No. 2 Republican in the House leadership.

The NRDC thanks Senator Boxer — and we do too.

“The Lieberman-Warner bill, America’s Climate Security Act, is the strongest global warming bill moving in the Congress and we thank Senator Barbara Boxer for her leadership in further strengthening and moving this bill through committee.

NRDC Statement

What’s interesting also, is that two conservatives introduced the bill which is eventually coming to the vote — Lieberman and Warner.

Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, is a sponsor of the global warming bill. Mr. Warner opposed weaker legislation when it was proposed two years ago, but said recently that he had changed his mind because of two factors: “science and my grandchildren.”

So heck, for a change, pick up the phone or the typing mitts and send a big ol’ thank you to your favorite congress critters. The fight isn’t over yet, but it’s good news to now.

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