The Atlantic Wire already covered the early cap-and-trade troubles--the missed deadline, the similarities to health care battles, and debates over designing a pro-growth plan. Wednesday morning, Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer introduced
their version of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill already passed in
the House. The bill, which had many of its substantial details leaked yesterday, is by all
accounts a more aggressive version of the House proposal, calling for a
20 percent reduction in emissions by 2020, rather than 15 percent. Is
this too ambitious? Do the benefits outweigh the costs? The bill will likely face heavy revisions and a long battle ahead, with conservatives already mounting an attack on the price tag. Here are the early reads:
- Support My Revolutionary Bill Wednesday morning, Politico published an op-ed from Senator John Kerry. In his view, the bill's high points include "ambitious carbon pollution reduction targets ... powerful new incentives for companies ... [r]ebates on monthly electric bills [to] ensure that energy remains affordable," and "targeted protection for our manufacturing sector." Saying the bill is aimed at "no less than a reinvention of the way America produces and uses energy," he acknowledges that this reinvention may not be easy, and preemptively blames "Big Oil."
- No 'Cakewalk' Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler points out that very little is easy in the Senate: when the bill finally comes to the floor, "expect a punishing debate and votes on amendments, which will culminate in a filibuster. If it can muster 60 votes to overcome that, then it may be in the clear. Bloodied and battered, but alive. But that's hardly a safe bet." So what is a safe bet? "James Inhofe will spend weeks and weeks saying more and more ridiculous things about [the bill]," writes Beutler. "So that should be fun."
- 'Expensive Eco-Hysterics,' was Michelle Malkin's preemptive attack on the day's proceedings. Now that the bill is out, the National Review's Iain Murray seems to agree on the "expensive" part. "The bill," writes Murray, "aims to be 'stricter' (read: more expensive)" than the one that passed in the House. "The fact that [Kerry and Boxer] attempt to mitigate these costs through wealth redistribution doesn't alter that fact." Furthermore, he sees a "safety valve" provision in the plan as an implicit admission "that the entire cap-and-trade concept could be catastrophic for the economy." He also accuses Kerry and Boxer of "setting up a subprime carbon market."
- No Kidding Steve Foley at The Minority Report criticizes Kerry and Boxer for "clearly ignoring a majority of the public who... overwhelmingly voiced opposition to paying more to fight global warming." Still, he adds, "Senate Democrats may be pushing a more strict version of this bill in order to force a compromise that would look like the House's Waxman-Markey Bill." He thinks the strategy "risky" but understandable in light of the "ObamaCare" fiasco.