WASHINGTON, DC-For the second day in a row, opponents’ “poison pill” amendments met their demise in the House Energy and Commerce markup of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Supporters united to block a series of amendments that would have eviscerated or diluted essential program elements. One of the most important votes was a 26-30 rejection of an amendment by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) that would have made nuclear power eligible for the renewable electricity standard, even though uranium is a finite resource that the U.S. must import. Only one of twenty eight states with an RES has such a provision.
Opponents made hysterical arguments against the bill. During the debate on a proposal to gut building efficiency standards, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) offensively claimed that “we’re setting up a global warming Gestapo.” Overwrought language aside, these statements ignore the growing scientific and economic consensus that clean energy jobs legislation is essential to economic recovery and growth.
As the markup continued, the President brought together the first meeting of the Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) to discuss the potential for clean energy investment to create jobs and speed along economic recovery.
In a memo proposed for consideration at the PERAB meeting, prominent venture capitalist John Doerr suggested the board endorse cap and trade as “the most important step in a coherent strategy for curtailing emissions.” His memo also details the myriad positive economics effects of a market based cap and trade pollution control system including its ability to “create massive new markets for energy efficiency and renewable energy.” The board also considered the urgent need for clean energy legislation enhance U.S. economic competitevness. Mr. Doerr warned ”If the U.S. fails to adopt an economy-wide carbon abatement program, we will continue to cede leadership in energy technology to other nations.”
With the House adjourning later this afternoon for Memorial Day recess, Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said his goal to pass the bill out of the Energy and Commerce Committee one hour after the House adjourns for recess. To accomplish this goal, Republicans must abandon their unsuccessful strategy of relentless offering one deal breaking amendment after another.
The steady leadership of Chairman Waxman and Subcommittee Chair Ed Markey (D-MA) skillfully steered the American Clean Energy and Security Act through the rocky shoals of the Energy Committee. By the end of today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee should make history with the passage of the first a global warming polluton reduction bill out of any House Committee.