Inhofe: Senate Will Not Pass Cap-and-Trade
Not too long ago, global warming activism in the U.S. Capitol made some sort of carbon cap-and-trade legislation seem like a near certainty. But the tide may be turning.
According to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the ranking Republican of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, a key committee needed for passage of a cap-and-trade bill, the trend indicates it canât pass, at least in the U.S. Senate. He explained that the House, under the leadership of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will pass anything, but it takes both houses of Congress for it to become law.
âI want to tell you whatâs going to happen from this point forward in my opinion,â Inhofe said at the Heartland Instituteâs Third International Conference on Climate Change in
One possibility some have suggested is that the Environmental Protection Agency would impose cap-and-trade regulations under the Clean Air Act, a law that gives the EPA authority to regulate pollution in the name of protecting the nationâs air quality. That according to Inhofe can be stalled until President Barack Obama leaves office.
âThe EPA has threatened to regulate this through the Clean Air Act,â Inhofe explained. âThat isnât going to work in my opinion because we can stall that until we get a new president â that shouldnât be a problem.â
But, the key component of the legislative process under these circumstances would be the U.S. Senate. Inhofe pointed to a measure that would require any climate treaty to include developing nations to self-impose the carbon restrictions for the
âWhile the House will pass the bill âŠ in the Senate, theyâre not going to be able to pass it,â Inhofe said. âYou guys â itâs just not going to happen. Now we have a history of whatâs happened in the Senate. We had the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Remember thatâs where we passed by a 94-1, I think it was, saying we donât want to ratify any treaty â the Senate doesnât â that doesnât include developing nations with developed nations. Well, that stuck with us.â
Inhofe explained that in 2003 and 2005, he was able to nearly single-handedly take down a bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joseph Liebermann, I-Conn., which would have set a cap-and-trade system in place.
âYet, with very popular people, like McCain and Liebermann coming up in â03 and then again in â05 â the reason Iâm going to tell you that they donât have the votes, itâs not going to pass is that in â05, thatâs when I was on the floor for eight hours a day, five days, or about 10 hours a days, 50 hours â is that only two senators would come to the floor that would help me with this because I was taking on McCain and Liebermann on this silly issue.â
But, in 2008 with a similar bill sponsored by Sens. Liebermann and John Warner, R-Va., he had gained significant support compared to his 2003 and 2005 efforts, showing a trend that passage of this type of bill is becoming increasingly more difficult.
âAnd you fast forward to one year ago today, 2008 â Warner-Liebermann,â Inhofe said. âIt didnât take five days, it took two days â 23 senators came down to help me out on this issue, because I told [California Democratic Sen.] Barbara Boxer to you know, get over it, get a life. You lost, we won.â
âIt will pass in the House, in the Senate it will not pass,â Inhofe continued. âAnd her latest vote and she wonât admit this, but itâs 34 votes and it takes 60 votes in the Senate. Maybe the people who wrote our constitution knew what they were talking about.â