Pay No Attention to Senate EPW Vote to Restructure U.S. Economy

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Thursday voted out S. 1733, the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.  The vote was 11-1, with Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) voting no and Republican committee members absent from the vote in protest. (Chairman Barbara Boxer’s statement.)

But pay no attention to the bill that the committee acted on, the 959 pages of vast economic reordering via a cap-and-trade regime, programs, subsidies, regulations, directives, mandates and government. The real action is with the Kerry-Lieberman-Graham closed-door negotiating among staffers and outside interests. Former Vice President Al Gore is counting on the work to “produce a consensus bill before Copenhagen.”

It’s such as a strange process, one that seems to thumb its nose at the public. From “Democrats move on emissions bill“:

Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, said he does not understand why Democrats are choosing to refine the climate bill outside of the committee.

“I always thought that was the chore of the committee,” said Drevna, whose industry is receiving just 2.25 percent of free pollution allowances. “It’s frustrating to see for whatever reason — political expediency, the Copenhagen deadline — [the panel] pass something out that all realize has no chance of passage.”

If political expediency means doing what’s necessary to give legislation a marginally greater chance of passage, that’s a good choice. But Tuesday’s election results represented a rejection of bigger government, economic overreach and official hubris. And the response with these legislative parleys is to embrace bigger government, economic overreach and official hubris — but behind closed doors!

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