Forecast on Climate Change Legislation Cloudy
The President remains committed to advancing his stalled legislative agenda. Addressing the Democratic National Committee in Washington last Saturday, Obama insisted he is not going to let go of his aspirations for America. "I'm not going to walk away from the American people," he said. "I'm not going to walk away on any challenge."
However, Senators from Red States, Coal States, and Rust Belt States are concerned about job losses and increased costs associated with a climate bill. Many lawmakers are also concerned about controlling the emissions of rapidly developing nations like India and China.
Republican Senators are virtually unanimous in their resistance to the Democrat's legislative efforts and with the recent Republican win in Massachusetts, they now have the numbers they need to block legislation.
In this hostile political and economic climate, the chances of passing meaningful climate change legislation seem bleak. However, Steve Eule, the US Chamber of Commerce vice president held out hope that a solution can be reached. "It's possible to have a compromise" he said, "but it won't be easy."
While the President continues his ongoing appeal for bipartisanship, in the Senate, Democrats are working on a more modest package of climate and energy measures. To ease the passage of energy legislation, there is talk of eliminating the cap-and-trade component of the plan. Senate moderates from both parties including Agriculture Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) are all pushing for an energy only approach without putting a price on carbon emissions.