Fresh off their introduction of a financial system regulatory proposal, the Obama administration is now shifting gears and going all out for passage of energy legislation in the House. They call it “energy week” and it’s intended to get a lot of the Democratic fence sitters to commit to the program and get a vote on the floor next week.
The administration is taking some flack from the “green” left for not pushing hard enough. In fairness, they have so many things to push, I’m not sure they have enough backs to bend to the task. Nevertheless, this one is proving to be a tough nut or maybe it’s going to be the first in a line of tough nuts.
Politico estimates that as many as 50 Democratic members of the House are dodging and weaving on this one. Many are the so-called “blue dogs”, a coalition of members representing conservative districts that were swept in during the Democratic victories in the last two elections. They hail largely from mid-western and southern states and often have a sizable rural or semi-rural constituency. Bottom line, their districts tend not to put a great deal of stock in “green” initiatives.
Politico frames their concerns:
Rural Democrats fear the cap and trade system included in the bill could raise costs for farmers and agribusiness. They’re pushing for greater oversight of the program by the Department of Agriculture and changes in how the bill allocates emissions credits to electricity companies.
Moderates worry about increased costs for consumers and businesses, particularly as gas prices continue to rise. And vulnerable Democrats from swing districts argue that the bill could open them up to Republican attacks that they are placing an “energy tax” on already-strapped consumers.
I don’t quite understand that passage. So far as I know the only way cap-and-trade or any other scheme works is to raise the price of carbon production. Since producers aren’t in business to lose money, the cost is going to be passed on to the user. I wish these troubled Democrats success in squaring the circle of enacting this legislation without causing any financial distress to anyone.