White House-Approved Energy Bill Passes Senate 86-8 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 14 Dec 2007 01:35:00 GMT

After Sen. Reid dropped the oil-for-renewable tax package following a failed cloture vote on the energy bill this morning, Republicans removed the filibuster threat and President Bush dropped his veto threat, having achieved a bill that met essentially all of the White House conditions.

This evening, the senatorial candidates having left the city, the Senate moved directly to a vote (ending debate by unanimous consent) on the final revision of the energy bill, which retains strengthened CAFE, appliance, and building standards, and a strong biofuels mandate with White House-approved tax adjustments for revenue.

The bill passed 86-8, Sen. Stabenow (D-Mich.) joining seven Republicans (Wyoming, Oklahoma, Hatch, DeMint, and Kyl) in opposition.

Gore, Congress, Europe Assail U.S. Stance in Bali

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Dec 2007 20:02:00 GMT

The United States delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali has led Japan, Canada, and Russia in rejecting the nonbinding EU proposed roadmap of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by wealthy countries 25 to 40 per cent by 2020. (By way of comparison, Lieberman-Warner (S. 2191) proposes a four percent cut from 1990 emissions levels by 2020.) The U.S. team is also opposing including references to the IPCC’s conclusions on the emissions reductions needed to avoid dangerous global warming.

In a speech today at the conference, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Al Gore said “My own country, the United States, is principally responsible for obstructing progress here in Bali . . . One year and 40 days from today, there will be a new inauguration in the United States. I must tell you candidly that I cannot promise that the person who is elected will have the position I expect they will have, but I can tell you I believe it is quite likely.”

In a letter to the President, 52 members of Congress, including a handful of Republicans, criticized the U.S. negotiating stance:
The clear implication is that the United States will refuse to agree to any language putting the United States on an established path toward scientifically-based emission limits. . . We write to express our strong disagreement with these positions and to urge you to direct the U.S. negotiating team to work together with other countries to complete a roadmap with a clear objective sufficient to combat global warming. The United States must adopt negotiating positions at the Bali Conference of the Parties that are designed to propel further progress – not fuel additional delay.
E&E News reports on EU threats to boycott a U.S.-led climate meeting:
Upset with the U.S.-led stance, senior officials from the European Union, France and Germany have threatened to boycott Bush’s plans to hold climate talks Jan. 30-31 in Honolulu.

“Without a roadmap and without a destination, it would be senseless,” said Stavros Dimas, the top environmental official for the European Commission. Dimas told reporters he made the same statement earlier today to Paula Dobrianksy, the lead U.S. negotiator at the climate meetings on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Karsten Sach of Germany’s environmental department and French negotiator Brice Lalonde both confirmed their countries also would stay away from Bush’s “Major Economies Meeting” if there is no agreement in Bali.

White House spokeswoman Kristen Hellmer didn’t take well to the E.U. threats. “Such comments are not very constructive when we are working so hard to find common ground on a way forward,” she said.

Energy Bill Filibustered By One Vote: Reid To Drop Oil-for-Renewable Tax Package 4

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Dec 2007 15:00:00 GMT

By a roll call vote of 59-40, Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster threatened by Republicans of the compromise energy legislation which retained the tax package under veto threat but not the House-approved renewable energy standard. Sen. Reid plans to reintroduce a version of the energy bill which contains the CAFE and biofuels provisions later today.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) was the only Democrat to vote with the Republicans. Coleman, Collins, Grassley, Hatch, Lugar, Murkowski, Smith, Snowe, and Thune voted with the Democrats. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), on the campaign trail, was the one senator not voting.

Farm Bill Update: Lugar-Lautenberg and Dorgan-Grassley Fail Cloture Votes 2

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Dec 2007 14:27:00 GMT

Two of the major farm bill (HR 2419/S 2302) amendments supported by reform advocates, the Lugar-Lautenberg subsidy overhaul (S 2228) and Dorgan-Grassley subsidy cap (S 1486), have both failed to achieve the sixty votes necessary to overcome Republican filibusters.

On Tuesday, Lugar-Lautenberg was soundly rejected by a vote of 37-58 (the five presidential candidates in the Senate did not vote).

This morning, the cloture vote to end debate on Dorgan-Grassley narrowly failed by a vote of 56-43.