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July 17, 2007

How A Bill Doesn't Become A Law

It just isn't true that what's deterring Congress from pursuing serious legislation on global warming is fear of the significant economic costs associated with such measures. What's keeping them from addressing global warming are very large contributions from the energy and auto industries, in addition to an obstructionist executive. Those groups may fear significant economic costs to themselves, but they're not blocking a cap-and-trade program out of some mega-concern for the US economy. So to write a long article pretending that the political obstacles climate legislation faces are platonic concerns over wrenching change is simply deceptive. It is, in fact, absurd-seeming to read this sort of thing in a paper that professes to be sophisticated about American politics:

Despite growing public concern over global warming, the House has failed to agree on new standards for automobile fuel efficiency, and the Senate has done little to boost the efficiency of commercial office buildings and appliances. In September, Congress is expected to start wrestling with more ambitious legislation aimed at slowing climate change; but because of the complexity of the likely proposals, few expect any bill to become law.

Yes, the House has simply "failed to agree," and the next series of bills will perish because of their "complexity." Not because of energy industry contributions, or business interests, or the fact that the President is a former oilman who takes tons of money from his old friends, but because this stuff is simply really hard to understand. Thanks, Washington Post, for clearing that up.

July 17, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Ezra: What's keeping them from addressing global warming are very large contributions from the energy and auto industries, in addition to an obstructionist executive.

Yes, yes, yes. And not just that Bush/Cheney luv energy companies, but that they just can't afford to lose support from any major corporate blocks at this point.

But, (BUT): The Dems are not just being weak-kneed without basis. There is a very large component of fear of alienating working folks in the midwest's rust belt and farm belt as well [fertilizer, tractors, trucks!], where jobs and farm profits are viewed as a tradeoff to global warming reversal efforts. Aside from ethanol from crop production, their is not much positive from Goreing the midwest - and that is not enough before 08 elections.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 17, 2007 10:33:16 AM

It just isn't true that what's deterring Congress from pursuing serious legislation on global warming is fear of the significant economic costs associated with such measures.

I love it when you just make stuff up like this, Ezra. You know this "just isn't true," how, exactly?

Posted by: JasonR | Jul 17, 2007 12:51:04 PM

It is ridiculous that the article doesn't also focus on the lobbying and industry ties--it actually quotes Dingel without any reference to his ties to the auto industry. But that doesn't mean that the costs aren't also a primary reason controls are hard to pass.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jul 17, 2007 2:34:59 PM

You think this is bad. Wait until you see what happens when people start proposing universal healthcare bills.

Posted by: mike | Jul 17, 2007 3:02:09 PM

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