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Groups Attacking Opponents of Climate Change Bill

It may not feel that way, but yes, there are other things happening today outside of the realm of Supreme Court nominations.

For instance, a coalition including veterans advocates, labor unions and an environmental group has begun running television ads blasting several House lawmakers for voting last week against controversial climate change legislation. That bill, sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), passed the committee Thursday by a count of 33 to 25, but Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) all voted against it.

Now, VoteVets.org, the League of Conservation Voters and America’s Building Trades Unions are hoping to make the three pay for their opposition. In 30-second television spots running in each lawmaker’s district, the groups are urging voters to pressure Barrow, Blunt and Ross to support the bill when it reaches the House floor, as expected sometime this summer.

Each member of the odd coalition is approaching the climate change legislation from a different angle. VoteVets.org, for example, wants to wean the country from foreign oil in the name of national security.

Billions in Middle East oil profits have gone to the same terrorists we’re fighting, and it makes no sense from a military or national security standpoint,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and Chairman of VoteVets.org.

For America’s Building Trades Unions — a branch of the AFL-CIO — the issue is green jobs. And of course, LCV is concerned about the effects of domestic emissions on the warming planet. So it makes sense that they’ve teamed up in support of Waxman’s bill.

Yet their campaign is also oddly targeted. Nevermind for a minute that many environmentalists would be happy to see the Waxman bill fail, arguing that it doesn’t go nearly far enough to eliminate the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change. No, the odd part is that Waxman’s bill is expected to pass the House, particularly after it was diluted to win the support of many Democrats friendly to the coal, gas and auto industries. The real fight will likely take place in the Senate, where there remains a good deal of doubt that a cap-and-trade emissions system like that pushed by Waxman has any legs at all.

It’s a little early, but supporters of climate change reform might get a better return on their lobbying dollars if they targeted lawmakers in the upper chamber instead.

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