Several recent pieces – led by David Roberts’ posting at Grist – report that “the worst kept secret in DC” is that there’s “no way” the Senate is passing a climate bill this year.
Surprised? After all, as Roberts and Bradford Plumer at TNR point out, energy reform was once Obama’s “number one priority.” Is it conceivable that a President with 65+ approvals and the iconic status of Obama could fail to get his number one priority through Senate that has a fillibuster-proof majority from his own party, less than six months after taking office?
Well…”number one priority” is a designation in question now: its amazing how a Supreme Court seat and budget-busting health care reform have a habit of changing things.
Aside from that, Obama and the leadership clearly underestimated the reluctance of Brown Dog Dems to actually embrace a climate change bill. And, finally, the whole strategy seems to have been flawed if energy was really a priority.
For example, Dodd’s tobacco bill will get passed today, to the chagrin of many of the same Senators that will be hit hard on energy reform. Could the White House have asked Dodd to dial it back a little and hold off on something like that until they could get the concessions they needed.
Dems in the SE and industrial Midwest can only “bend” so far. Even on Obama’s lightning quick time line that brings Waxman-Markey to the floor by July 4, those key voters may already have bent past the breaking point.
So, if Waxman-Markey is out, what does that mean for US posture in Copenhagen? Should we anticipate action by the EPA in lieu of a climate bill? Stay tuned!