Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Energy Bill Is In Big Trouble

Remember earlier in the year when both the House and Senate passed energy bills. The House version of H.R.6 - United States Energy Storage Competitiveness Act of 2007 was passed on January 18, and the Senate version on June 21. Passing the energy bill was cause for celebration. Headlines and high fives all around. Most rank and file Democrats think our team in Congress actually took some small, but courageous steps to solve a whole host of problems facing America.

Hooray for our side. Hooray for America. Send $25 bucks to your favorite Democratic Congressperson or Senator. It's all good. Our team is on the job. Chalk one up for the good guys.

Boys and girls never fear, Nancy and Harry have found a way to have their high fives, pick your green pocket, pander to the lobbyists and do nothing all at the same time. Call it benign neglect. Call it knowing how the system works. Call it anything you want. It seems Harry and Nancy let both houses pass legislation but have failed to appoint a conference committee to reconcile the two versions. They probably won't until way late in the year--at a time when other priorities will probably doom the energy bill.

More on the other side.

The New York Times recently reported that

Democratic leaders in both chambers have signaled that conference committee members are unlikely to be named until late October, at the earliest. Others suggested that leaders may try to resolve the differences in the bills without convening a conference, which would create other problems, including the threat of a Republican filibuster in the Senate. . . .

President Bush has threatened to veto the House bill, which he says does not have enough incentives for domestic energy production, and the Senate bill because it has penalties for price gouging by the oil industry.
According to Donny Shaw at Congress Gossip Blog
If Congress fails to pass an energy bill, there will be reasons to believe it was because lawmakers and the President put the interests of the utilities and auto industries over America's interests in clean and independent energy. The industries are out lobbying hard in Washington. And if you look at the campaign contribution figures for the electric utilities industry, it's pretty easy to draw the conclusion that there is a quid pro quo arrangement with the Republicans who are threatening to block this bill.
If you care at all about energy independence and the future of America you should give Nancy and Harry a call. Encourage them to appoint a conference committee to finish the job. If George wants to veto the bill, that's Republican business. I don't give a damn what industry lobbyists say, there is no need for Democrats to make life easy for Republicans. Anyway if we don't start moving toward energy independence we are going to be fighting wars in the middle east for most of the next century. More importantly we are going to lose all of our freedoms to oil sheiks and oil company insiders.