The Dernogalizer

July 23, 2010

Senate Fails to Take Up Climate Legislation

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 1:00 am
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It was revealed Thursday that the Senate isn’t going to put any kind of climate bill/cap on carbon to a vote because they can’t find 60.  It’s pretty  disgusting, especially considering the momentum from the oil disaster the Democrats and Obama should have used more aggressively to make the case for a clean energy future.

In 18 months a Senate with 59-60 Democrats couldn’t find the time or the heart to even take climate legislation to the floor.  Pretty pathetic.

Here is the article breaking the news, and here is a blog post by Joe Romm at Climate Progress that appropriately divides up the blame between the Republicans, the media, Obama, the Democrats, and the activists.  Below is an excerpt from the news article.

“At a press conference this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), the Democrats’ top climate and energy negotiator, acknowledged officially, and with obvious disappointment, that they lack the votes to pass legislation limiting carbon pollution, and that forthcoming energy legislation will be extremely narrow, in a bid to overcome a GOP filibuster.”

July 11, 2009

Navigating a Minefield Part 2

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 11:47 pm
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In my first post on the coming climate legislation battle in the Senate, I focused on a myriad of suggestions on how both the politicians pushing legislation as well as environmental activists and organizations could work to get a stronger bill.  Despite the monumental challenge of getting to 60 votes in the Senate, as I said in the first post which I won’t repeat in depth here, there are advantages in terms of how to increase the pressure on Senators that we didn’t have in the House.  However that isn’t the focus of this post.  This post basically shows that absent a much stronger and smarter mobilization in the Senate, there will need to be wheeling and dealing done by President Obama, Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid, along with top Democrats.

As a disclaimer I will say that the  “pick your poison” scenario I lay out at the end is not one that I would like to see.  It is simply a look at what it’s going to take to get 60.  Another disclaimer is this is a long post, so bring a snack. (more…)

June 30, 2009

Navigating a Minefield Part 1

I’m pretty sure that from now until the Senate votes on a climate bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will look at what he’s going to have to do to get 60 votes for a measure, and add 30 seconds to his schedule every day where he takes a pillow and cries into it.  The Senate is where legislation goes to die.  As elated as I was at passing the Waxman-Markey bill out of the House, it hit me pretty fast that this was going to get ugly.

Environmental groups have been talking about the idea of strengthening, but in the Senate what kind of grassroots pressure and mobilization would that really take?  What kind of bill would we end up seeing if we had “business as usual” activism on this bill?  The first thing I want to do is talk what is necessary for a much stronger bill, and I must admit that this has long odds considering we came up short in the easier of the two chambers.  Next, I’m going to show you what compromises would have to be included in the bill in order to reach 60 votes assuming the level of support by the American public is as dull as it was in the House. (more…)

June 12, 2009

Here comes the Senate

There’s been plenty of commotion surrounding the Waxman-Markey climate bill as it moves through the House in Congress.  One major concern has been when the Senate is going to take up the issue of climate change legislation.  The picture has become a little clearer now, thanks to an article in Politico about the emerging timeline for their energy/climate bill, which Barbara Boxer has said she intends to have her committee mark-up before the August recess.  This is good to hear!  It increases the odds that this bill can be on the desk by Copenhagen if it’s pushed fast enough.  Boxer has also voiced that she thinks that her committee will produce a stronger bill, at least until it hits the floor where lord knows what will happen.  It also means that environmental groups need be ready to quickly divert their pressure to the Senate as soon as Waxman-Markey makes it out of the House.  If the difficulty of passing the stimulus bill is any indication, it will take quite a lift in the Senate to get the bill passed.  Notable excerpts from the article below.

“Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she expects to mark up climate and energy legislation before the August recess, with hopes of a bill reaching the full Senate in the fall”

“You might see a little bit of a stronger bill come out of our committee,” said Boxer, who noted that her bill is based on the House cap-and-trade proposal. “You’ll see some refinements and changes and tweaks.”

“The Senate is taking a more collective approach to climate legislation. A core group of committee heads — Boxer, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) — meet regularly with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to discuss the issue.”

“Boxer and Kerry say they hope to pass legislation by December, when international climate talks will take place in Copenhagen. Congressional action, says Kerry, is critical to convincing China and other key countries that the U.S. is serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

November 1, 2008

Vote for Andrew Rice

I wanted to take a moment to write a post to encourage all those who live in Oklahoma to vote for Andrew Rice as your US Senator. This is a race I have been monitoring quite intently. Andrew Rice is a terrific person, he graduated with a religious studies degree, and a masters in theologic studies. In the 1990’s, he traveled to Asia to do missionary work. Over there, he worked on constructing schools, as an AIDS hospice, and substance abuse treatment homes.

However, his brother was killed in the 9/11 attacks, and this was a game-changer for him. He decided to focus on public service to try to better his country. Andrew has been a State Senator since 2006, and has already amassed a fantastic resume, particularly in expanding health insurance for children, pushing to pass a tremendous bill called stephanie’s law, and he has a solid environmental record of pushing for energy conservation, efficiency, and cleaner burning fuels into vehicles.

I’ve paid a lot of attention to the rhetoric coming from Andrew Rice, because he is running in one of the most conservative states in the country. I wanted to see how his positions when it came to energy/environmental issues would change as the days wore on. To my pleasant surprise, he hasn’t backed down a bit. Andrew constantly talks about how climate change is a real serious, urgent problem that we must confront. He refers to the future of his children as a reason he’s running for office- so that he can work to ensure they don’t have live with the effects. He gets it when it comes to green jobs and clean energy. He understands that investing in clean alternatives isn’t only good for the economy, but creates an economic boom with millions of new good paying green jobs. The kinds of jobs that are going to put America’s economy back into contention with the rest of the world. Andrew Rice also recognizes the severe limitations that come with offshore drilling and how little it can address our energy crisis.

This is not to say Andrew and I agree on everything. Coming from a conservative states, he has staked out some moderate to right-leaning positions which you can read about on his website. Additionally, even when it comes to energy he is a strong proponent of natural gas. While I recognize natural gas is cleaner than coal and oil, to me it’s still a dirty fuel, and economically is not our best option. But I can live with that disagreement.

What makes this race even more important is the opponent Rice is facing. James Inhofe, the man who is infamously known for saying on television “global warming is the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people” back in 2003. Up until 2006 when the Democrats took over the Senate, Inhofe towered over the Senate’s Environment Committee, doing everything in his power to block any kind of legislation that would serve positively towards the environment, moving away from dirty fuels, or fight climate change. He has a 0% score from the League of Conservation Voters.

If you would like to read an interview with Andrew Rice conducted earlier in the year, go here

I am a realist, Rice is trying to defeat what has been considered a seemingly invincible opponent. The closest poll I’ve seen from this race is Inhofe leading Rice by 9% points. But there was ever a year for it to happen, this is it. Republicans are extremely unpopular, Inhofe has pretty much been lock step with Bush, and people are hungry for a change. There’s also the Obama Factor, as I call it, where it’s likely there will be a massive surge in youth and African American turnout all around the country which will affect races all down the ticket.

Regardless of the outcome, I sense Rice will be a star in American politics in the years to come. But if you live in Oklahoma, vote him into the Senate.

By the way, I just tracked down Inhofe’s contributions from Big Oil and Big Coal over the years. Sicccck

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

Accepted $607,406 from the oil and gas industry since 2000. $300,548 of those dollars were from industry PACS. Supported the industry in 100% of selected votes.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)

Accepted $321,000 from the coal industry since 2000. $253,750 of those dollars were from industry PACS.

October 4, 2008


Filed under: National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 11:12 pm
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Look Out!

Look Out!

I read an interesting article “60 seats“, about how the Democrats may reach 60 seats in the Senate once you count the two independents which caucus with them. It sounds like a bit of the stretch, but the number will definately be in the high 50’s. As for the house, we’re looking at 17-21 more seats swing Dem. And right now, Obama’s prospects of taking the White House look good. Quite frankly I’d like to see this domination just because I had to put up with 6 years of Republican rule full of bullshit. I want conservatives to go through the same headache for what they put this country through. So I hope the Democrats sweep. And I hope they slam as many progressive policies as possible down the throats of conservatives.

In reality, I think we’ll own the House, have the Presidency, but only have a majority in the Senate, not 60 seats. Another point of reality, is that the Democrats better make this country look very good very fast. It’s going to be very hard to hold a lot of these seats which are in typically conservative Districts. People don’t seem to have an appetite for allowing a party to dominate every branch of government. The tough part is that Bush has left such a mess and a gigantic deficit that it will be hard for the Dems to look too good. I’m looking wayyyy too far ahead, but I think, and fear that many of the gains we make in 2008 will be lost in 2010 and 2012.

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