Fearful of a backlash against the costly healthcare overhaul and bracing for huge losses in the 2010 elections, Democratic leaders are urging the Obama White House to abandon efforts to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year.
“I am communicating that in every way I know how,” Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., told Politico. She’s one of at least half a dozen Democrats who've told the White House or their own leaders that “it's time to jettison the centerpiece of their party's plan to curb global warming,” Politico reported.
But the idea of an economy-wide market for greenhouse gas emissions is at the heart of the climate bill that cleared the House earlier this year, and it’s very popular among the party’s liberal grassroots coalitions. But with the economy still hurting, moderate Democrats have little appetite for another sweeping initiative — especially another one likely to pass with little or no Republican support.
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“We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it’s very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now,” said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economy-wide cap and trade “unlikely.”
And Sen. Ben Nelson, who took a firm conservative stance against liberal tendencies in the Senate healthcare bill, said fixing the economy for out-of-work constituents, not the climate, should be paramount.
“I’d just as soon see that set aside until we work through the economy,” said Nelson, D-Neb. “What we don’t want to do is have anything get in the way of working to resolve the problems with the economy.”
“Climate change in an election year has very poor prospects,” added Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. “I’ve told that to the leadership.”
At a meeting about health care last month, moderates pushed to table climate legislation in favor of a jobs bill that would be an easier sell during the 2010 elections, according to Senate Democratic aides, Politico reported.
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