So… anyone who's fretting about the fate of the climate bill will just have to wait and see whether John Kerry and Joe Lieberman can drag Lindsey Graham back into negotiations—they're all meeting this afternoon. But if anyone needs a wonky way to pass the time, Harvard economist Robert Stavins has a nice post on an issue that's likely to be particularly contentious if/when the climate bill ever hits. Namely, state preemption.
As Jon Chait noted over the weekend, the fate of the Senate climate bill has suddenly been thrown in doubt. Lindsey Graham is pissed off that Harry Reid wants to do immigration next instead of energy, and he's threatened to pull out of negotiations. Without Graham's support, the climate bill isn't going anywhere. So everything's up in the air right now. The Hill reports that John Kerry and Joe Lieberman—the other two main authors—are trying to salvage the bill, and it even sounds like Reid's softening a bit: “We need [Graham] to come back.
Imagine for a moment that it is late 2010, perhaps a few weeks after the midterm elections. Barack Obama has scheduled a surprise prime-time televised statement from the Oval Office. Looking grave, even shaken, behind the presidential desk, Obama fixes his gaze into the camera and speaks: When I said that it would be unacceptable for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, I meant it. Over the past several months, it has become clear that neither engagement nor isolation and sanctions have slowed Iran’s determination to build a bomb.
This is a tale of two bills—a tale that illuminates how policy-making may unfold under the most progressive administration, and the most Democratic Congress, in a generation. And it’s not a tale with an especially happy ending. The target of both bills is carbon. From early on, President Obama has indicated that climate and energy legislation would come second in his administrative batting order, only after health care reform. (Originally, he thought that would mean last fall, but health care was like a hitter who fouled off pitch after pitch.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just declared that the public option is dead. Again. And she's right. Again. For the last few weeks, public option advocates have waged a heroic campaign to revive the public option by getting individual Senators to endorse it. The idea was to take advantage of the reconciliation process, in which fifty-plus-one senators can pass legislation without getting filibustered. The public option never got 60 votes in the Senate; that's why it didn't end up in the final Senate bill. But it got a lot more than 50. But things are not so simple.
My post from a couple days ago, about how my instincts about Howard Dean from 2004 have been vindicated, made me think of something: Just how awful was the 2004 Democratic primary field?
Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported that John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman are preparing to unveil their much-discussed Senate climate bill in the next few weeks. The eye-opening twist, though, is that their bill probably won’t include a single cap-and-trade program for the entire economy. Instead, it would include different types of pollution controls for different sectors.
I'm a longtime, enthusiastic fan of the public option. And I am really nervous about its latest rise from the grave. As you may recall, the public option died in December, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped it from his reform bill in order to secure the final votes necessary for a filibuster-proof, 60-member majority.
One of the points I made in my Bush rehabilitation smackdown post earlier today is that it's wildly disingenuous to cast the overoptimistic budget projections as a mistake that gobsmacked everybody.
President Obama is going to address another Congressional gathering today. The audience will be more friendly this time: It will be the Senate Democratic caucus. But the stakes will be just as high as they were when Obama spoke to Republican House members last week. Health care is bound to come up at the meeting. I assume Obama will raise it during his prepared remarks; if not, he'll get questions about it. And the big controversy right now is whether the Senate is willing to amend its bill through the budget reconciliation process.