Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is pressing forward on his drive to vote this month on his plan to delay Obama administration climate regulations for two years, threatening to go directly to the Senate floor and force a vote to include it in a catch-all spending bill.
Rockefeller has told Senate leadership “that he will insist on a vote” on his measure to block the Environmental Protection Agency global warming rules set to take effect next month.
“If left with no other option, Senator Rockefeller will seek to suspend the rules on the Omnibus Appropriations bill to bring up his legislation,” his office said in a statement. Such a maneuver would require 67 votes, which he is unlikely to get.
A POLITICO analysis shows at least 56 senators would likely support Rockefeller’s amendment.
Rockefeller has been trying for months to get Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to schedule a vote on his amendment. The West Virginia Democrat has said he would hold Reid to a promise he gave Rockefeller to hold a vote this year.
"The time has come for us to make a decision on the energy future of our country," Rockefeller said in a prepared statement. "While there are still ongoing discussions about how Congress should proceed, I want to make it clear that I intend to get a vote this year on my EPA-suspension legislation. I know there is bipartisan support for this legislation, and if necessary, I will seek to suspend the rules and bring this up for a vote. This is too important for us to delay any further."
But holding a vote on the two-year delay could be an embarrassing symbolic rebuke to the Obama administration. Rockefeller’s plan has no realistic shot of becoming law even if it passes the Senate, given the lack of desire by House Democratic leaders to take it up and a White House veto threat.
Maybe he won't have that much of a shot in this House, but the next house, when the Republicans will be the majority, he’ll have a much better shot to pass any such bans on new climate regulations or taxes.
He tried to get into the omnibus bill, last night, but of course, the omnibus bill died last night. So, he will have to try and add it to future legislation like the DREAM, DADT, or START bills, before the end of this Congress, but I think that it would be better for him to wait until next month, when the GOP will play a much bigger role in what is passed.
When he does bring it back up, he needs to be sure not just focus on the EPA like he has been. As Michelle Malkin reports, Janet Napolitano making "environmental justice" a big priority at the Department of Homeland Security. What does global warming have to do with national security? Who knows.
He is doing this to curry favor with the voters in his state of West Virginia, which is heavily reliant on coal mining for their economy. Any sort of legislation that might be passed limiting or putting taxes on carbon emissions would kill the economy for the whole state and would, in turn, kill any chances at his re-election. I know that he isn’t up for re-election until 2014, but passing any such enviromental bill, now, would have such a devestating effect on the economy that the it would still be feeling the effects four years from now.
H/T to Ed Morrissey