Senate Watch: Boxer, Hutchison, Inhofe, McCain, Stabenow, Udall
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Washington Post As we are moving to address some of our nation’s great challenges – revitalizing our economy, putting Americans back to work and passing health insurance reform – scientists are telling us we have a short window to take the steps that are needed to avoid the ravages of global warming. We must also act quickly to ensure America leads the world in clean energy technology. We need to confront all of these issues; we don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. By creating powerful incentives for clean energy, the bill that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and I will introduce in September will restore our economy and create jobs at home while reducing carbon pollution and making us less dependent on foreign oil. John Doerr – one of the nation’s leading venture capitalists, who helped launch Google and Amazon.com—has predicted that the investment capital that will flow into clean energy will dwarf the amount invested in high-tech and biotech combined. It will create millions of jobs in America – building wind turbines, installing solar panels on homes and producing a new fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles. We can successfully address all of these challenges. Our forebears have set the pace ever since our nation was founded. President Obama has reminded us that America built the transcontinental railroad and established the National Academy of Sciences in the midst of the Civil War. In the 1960s, we passed historic civil rights legislation even as we took on the challenge of going to the moon. At the end of the day, leaders have to lead when action is needed.
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Washington Post Cap-and-trade legislation will fail under its own weight, just like health-care legislation. Each massive, misguided policy is being doggedly pushed by the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership in a narrow, partisan fashion that will contribute to and ensure its failure. We could forecast the American outrage, based on past experience with these types of proposals, and if the Democrats succeed in forcing these bad policies on American families, they will be held accountable by the public. The administration’s health-reform proposal would nationalize and bureaucratize health care in America. Cap-and-trade, meanwhile, will kill 2 million American jobs; shrink the household incomes of average Americans by more than $1,000 annually; and penalize the industries that produce our nation’s energy – at a time when we are already concerned about the high costs of fuel and utilities. It will increase our dependence on foreign energy imports, which is already at an astounding 60 percent. We have seen such proposals before, and the good news is that they have failed miserably because Americans are well informed and understand how they could impact their lives.
Washington Post As lawmakers return to Washington and assess the fiery backlash of constituent opposition to government-run health care, those mired in the thick of the climate change debate are wondering: What does it all mean for us? The warring factions over climate policy should step back and try to discern whether constituents are signaling a more basic distrust of new government schemes. Polling data from the past several months indicates that such public distrust is real, deep and widespread. This means the Democrats’ government-run, cap-and-trade scheme – in fact, an energy tax that extends into every corner of American life – now faces an even higher hurdle, including growing opposition from many Democrats in the Senate. Such distrust will only grow if Democrats insist, as they did in the House, on crafting climate legislation in their inner sanctums, with no time for serious public input and debate. And this is exactly the course being drawn in the Senate. Still, Washington’s appetite for spending, taxing and regulating – cap-and trade contains elements of each – is boundless. So, despite having public opinion on our side, those opposed to cap-and-trade are facing a monumental battle this fall in the Senate. There will be a mad race for 60 votes, and the outcome will reverberate beyond 2010.
9 News “I think the evidence is overwhelming that climate change is taking place, and it is damaging our national parks,” said Sen. John McCain. . . Senator McCain said he would have a difficult time supporting the bill if it doesn’t increase the nation’s use of nuclear energy. “Nuclear power has to be a part of any real way of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” said McCain.
The Coloradoan “All you have to do is look around and see the trees dying because of the pine beetle,” said McCain,R-Ariz.
This Week MCCAIN: I think the threat is serious here. We’ve seen increased temperatures, which has had impact on the wildlife, on the flora and fauna, on the Colorado River itself, which we are seeing less and less of. We are in serious drought conditions. Our parks have very fragile ecology here. And, frankly, when you’re in this driest area anyway, then they’re even more fragile. So I think that part of the impact of climate change on our national parks is—well, you know, they’re going to have to change the name of Glacier National Park because the glaciers are going away.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In the past, you’ve been supportive of legislation to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, with cap-and-trade. What about the current legislation that’s coming out of the House now, moving to the Senate? They’ve met a lot of your objections about not giving away the allowances. Is this something that you can support?
MCCAIN: Well, to support a 1,400-page piece of legislation to start with is always difficult for me, but I believe that the only way we’re going to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions effectively is the nuclear power. We have got to build 100 nuclear power plants in the next 20 years. We can do that. Right now, the administration’s position is against storage and they’re against recycling of spent nuclear fuel. I can’t support a genuine reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, unless nuclear power is a key part of it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’ve been for it in past.
MCCAIN: I’ve been for – and nuclear power – assuming that nuclear power would be a key part of it. I mean, you can’t get there from here. The only country that’s really making its Kyoto goals is France, where 80 percent of their electricity is generated by nuclear power.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’d be willing to go along with cap-and- trade, if it were part of a comprehensive deal that included more…
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
MCCAIN: Well, that would have to be part of it. And second of all, in any 1,400-page piece of legislation, you put in a lot of special deals for a lot of special interests. We know what happened there. The bazaar was open in the House of Representatives, so obviously, I would have to want to do away with a whole lot of that. But I think climate change is real, and I would be glad to sit down and try to work, as I have in the past, across the aisle on this issue.
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Detroit News “Climate change, I believe, is very real. The overwhelming evidence is it doesn’t show up always. We are seeing temperatures go up, we’re seeing the ice caps melting. But it creates volatility. You can see it in the storms that we have. I feel it in flying. I fly twice a week. And over the years, the storms are more volatile. So it’s not just about, ‘It’s getting hotter.’ In some places it’s hotter, in some places it’s colder, some places – The volatility that comes with the change in temperatures . . . We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes.”
9 News “We ought to find ways to harness the sun and the wind, create new kinds of biofuels and upgrade our nuclear power capabilities,” said Sen. Udall. . . . “The bill’s not perfect, but it is a beginning,” said Udall. “The Senate now has to work its bill, and there are a number of elements we could put in the Senate bill that would improve the House bill including passing a renewable electricity standard for the nation.”
Denver Post “I agree with Sen. McCain that nuclear power has to part of the mix,” Udall said. “It’s clear that if we want to respond to climate change, nuclear energy has to be part of the solution.”