Senate Vote De-Fangs Cap and Trade Approach To Climate Change
The Senate has voted to impose a super-majority requirement on future passage of any bill – including carbon cap-and-trade legislation – that would increase the tax burden on the middle class or boost overall federal revenues, a move that will likely shape the upcoming climate change debate expected later this year. The provision, sponsored by Republican Sen. John Ensign (NV), was unanimously approved April 1. The Senate also overwhelmingly approved a measure blocking the use of a fast-track budget procedure known as reconciliation as a means of passing climate legislation with a simple majority.
On March 31, the Senate approved an amendment from Sen. John Thune (R-SD) declaring that any climate legislation considered by the body must decrease GHG emissions “without increasing electricity or gasoline prices.” A “clarifying” amendment offered by Environment & Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) softens the language somewhat by suggesting the Senate may consider legislation that doesn’t increase the economic burden on consumers “through the use of revenues and policies provided in such legislation.”