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Fiscal Policy &Junk Science Richard Falknor on 11 Jun 2010 04:45 pm

“In Power or In Office?” From Obamacare to the EPA

“Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless. Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic.”

. . . . .

“Republicans are good at keeping the seat warm. A bigtime GOP consultant was on TV, crowing that Republicans wanted the Dems to pass Obamacare because it’s so unpopular it will guarantee a GOP sweep in November. OK, then what? You’ll roll it back – like you’ve rolled back all those other unsustainable entitlements premised on cobwebbed actuarial tables from 80 years ago?  . . . Andrew McCarthy concluded a shrewd analysis of the political realities thus: ‘Health care is a loser for the Left only if the Right has the steel to undo it. The Left is banking on an absence of steel. Why is that a bad bet?'” – –  Mark Steyn

Yesterday the pro-freedom, pro-prosperity, pro-energy forces in the U.S. Senate were unable to muster the votes to stop the EPA from regulating our economy to combat the questionable threat of greenhouse gases.

Today’s Washington Examiner declares “Senate surrenders to the EPA” – –

“Fifty three of the Senate’s 59 Democrats gave unelected, overpaid bureaucrats at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a green light yesterday to do pretty much whatever they choose in their quixotic crusade against global warming. All 41 Republicans and six brave Democrats voted for Alaska Sen.Lisa Murkowski’s resolution nullifying the EPA’s recent usurpation of authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate the U.S. economy to combat greenhouse gases. Thankfully, this craven surrender of congressional authority isn’t the last word on the issue, assuming that the November elections produce a Senate with enough backbone to reassert the legislature’s rightful power.

In the meantime, it’s vital to understand how bureaucracies function. Whatever else they may do, leading bureaucrats always do two things, regardless of which party controls the White House or Congress: They limit choices available to the rest of us by imposing regulations that increase government power and thus justify expanding their budgets and staffs; and they protect themselves and their turf by suppressing internal dissent, often at any costs.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Freedom Action explained yesterday that “Senate Democrats Vote to ‘Turn Out the Lights on America’”.

Washington, D.C., June, 10, 2010The Senate today defeated by a vote of 47 to 53 the Murkowski Resolution of Disapproval that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Six Democrats and all 41 Republican Senators voted for the resolution. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) offered S.J. Res. 26 under the special procedures of the Congressional Review Act, so that the resolution needed only 51 votes for passage.


Supporters of EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions had to resort to high-pressure tactics to defeat the Murkowski Resolution.  The White House issued a sternly-worded veto threat.  Environmental pressure groups spent millions of dollars on advertising.  Even that was not enough. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had to promise to hold a vote on a bill that would delay EPA regulations for two years in order to peel several Democratic votes away.


‘During today’s debate, Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, said that he was voting for the Murkowski Resolution because he didn’t want EPA turning out the lights on America.  Unfortunately, 53 of his fellow Democrats disagreed with Senator Rockefeller and voted to allow EPA to proceed with their regulations to turn out the lights on America,’ Myron Ebell, Director of Freedom Action.

‘Every one of the 53 Democratic Senators who voted against the Murkowski Resolution has now taken full responsibility for the economic consequences of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations,’ Ebell continued.’These 53 Democratic Senators are responsible for the higher energy prices that will make American families poorer.  They are responsible for every factory that won’t be built and for every job that will be lost.'”

Faithful readers will recall our September 27, 2008 post “The Other Economic Menace: Green Statism” where we pointed out – –

“Lamentably, the Bush Administration allowed this ANPR [Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on regulating carbon-dioxide emissions] to go to the Federal Register. Reportedly, the White House wanted to avoid conflict with Democrat-controlled Congressional committees and an ‘environmentalist’ MSM.”

We also included a handy list detailing how the greenhouse-gas regulation could affect lawn mowers, string trimmers, portable power generators, recreational marine spark-ignition vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles.

The Obama Administration is pushing very hard to get its statist priorities into law or operation (or both) by 2011.

Last month conservative Senate rules expert Mike Hammond explained “The Way to Block Kagan for Senate Republicans – –

“If the 41 Senate Republicans agreed to oppose cloture (the mechanism through which filibusters can be stopped with 60 out of 100 votes in the Senate) on anything, says Hammond, ‘they could bring the Kagan nomination and a lot of other things to a screeching halt.'”

. . . . .

“Statements that signal a bipartisan approach must stop. That will send a very clear message of ending the policy of ‘business as usual’ dealing with the White House.”

. . . . .

“The late Sen. Helms once observed that when working in tandem with then-Democrat colleagues (and fellow Senate rules experts) Robert Byrd (W.Va.) and James B. Allen (Ala.), legislation and other Senate business could be stalled for more than a month.”

The courage, and the tactics – – stopping the legislative trains  – – Hammond recommends to Senate Republicans to halt the confirmation of Dean Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court would seem equally appropriate to stop the other major Obama statist initiatives until the country has the results of what amounts to a national referendum on the president’s program next November.

In the instant case, bringing such united Senate Republican pressure to bear on the White House by asking the president to sign a two-year legislative deferral on carbon-dioxide regulation would save the economy enormous pain

The real question for the Senate Republican leadership:  is there any Obama initiative you will invoke Senate rules to the fullest to stop during the balance of this Congress? 

If not, it is hard to see this Senate Republican leadership in the next Congress fighting tooth-and-nail against already enacted programs including Obamacare.  Faithful readers will recall our compilation of their missteps in our March 24, 2010 “Shaming a Faltering Senate GOP Leadership into Action”

Our current impression, moreover, is that too many Republican Congressional incumbents are wholly beguiled (and distracted) by a vision of a “blow-out victory” next November. Instead of relying on premature triumphalism, we need commitment to a stubborn, unrelenting fight in the Congress from now until November.

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