Does Graham’s Backtrack Spell the End of Cap-and-Trade?
Dave Roberts thinks so. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) unlikely support for comprehensive climate legislation represented the best hope for passage of a cap-and-trade bill. Now, his remarks that the House and Senate climate bills “are going nowhere” and a “massive cap-and-trade system that regulates carbon in a fashion that drives up energy costs” is “dead” have burst the bubble of environmentalists who, frankly, never really expected the conservative Graham to remain a forceful advocate for a policy that’s anathema to the right.
The levelheaded Roberts writes:
To me, regardless of what Obama or Reid may want, this signals the death knell for a comprehensive cap-and-trade program, this year and probably for the duration of Obama’s term in office. If Graham won’t go for it, no Republican will, certainly not the 6-8 Republicans needed. Indeed, opposition to cap-and-trade has become part of the Republican purity pledge. As long as the rabid teabag base has total control over the party, there will be no flexibility on this. And 41 senators is all they need to block it.
With Democrats’ 59-seat majority in the Senate likely to be reduced to 53 to 55 after the midterm elections, if cap-and-trade doesn’t happen this year, it won’t happen for a long time. The House leadership’s impressive success in passing a landmark climate bill, the hope engendered by the tripartisan climate talks, President Obama’s Copenhagen pledge to cut America’s emissions by around 17 percent by 2020 — all that might have just gone down the drain with a Scott Brown-influenced change of heart by the senior senator from South Carolina.