Freedom New Mexico
Congressional Republicans have been joined by Democrats in separate strategies to curb the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to unilaterally regulate greenhouse gases. If successful, they could delay or end the agency’s plans, leaving regulatory authority to Congress, where an emission-restricting bill died last year.
At the least, Congressional votes on the EPA’s planned greenhouse gas regulations and similar attempts to repeal President Barack Obama’s centerpiece health care legislation will put representatives and senators on record for the 2012 election.
The congressional efforts against the EPA, like recent votes on Obamacare, identify incumbents’ positions on what promises to be two of the election’s major campaign issues. Even if the legislative attempts fail this year, voters will know who supported and who opposed these Draconian, job-killing measures.
Only 28 percent of Democrats who voted for Obamacare were re-elected to the House in swing districts in 2010, while 57 percent of Democratic incumbents in swing districts who voted against it kept their seats, according to one analysis.
While no Senate Democrats defected in Tuesday’s vote to repeal Obamacare, three House Democrats joined with Republicans when the lower house voted in January for repeal.
Republicans, who took control of the House in 2010, but not the Senate, hope to advance legislation in the Senate to strip the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. We agree with EPA critics who say the act never was intended to be used to regulate carbon dioxide. The agency, however, in 2007 declared CO2 to be a harmful pollutant, triggering its authority.
There also are court challenges to the EPA’s authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using the Clean Air Act, as there are multiple lawsuits challenging Obamacare’s constitutionality. These high-profile conflicts on both matters promise to generate headlines much of the year, and perhaps into the 2012 campaign season.
In the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid will be pressured to allow a vote on the EPA issue. A bill was reintroduced last week by fellow Democrat Sen. John D. Rockefeller of West Virginia and six fellow Democrats from conservative-leaning states. Their bill would place a two-year delay on the agency’s regulations. “(W)e need the time to get it right and to move clean-coal technology forward,” Rockefeller said.
Senate Republicans hope to go further with their bill to take away EPA’s authority altogether. “The last thing Americans need is a national energy tax that would kill more jobs,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. House Republicans have introduced similar legislation.
It’s encouraging that momentum is growing to oppose the unnecessary and costly regulations and mandates on greenhouse gases and on the nation’s health care industry. Even if legislative and court challenges fall short this year, they promise to set the stage for definitive electioneering in 2012.