[Update, 4:39 p.m.: Representatives DeFazio and Walden voted no. Blumenauer, Schrader, and Wu voted yes. HR 2454 passed 219-212. -editor.]
Will Congressman Peter DeFazio support the climate change bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009?
As Al Gore, President Obama and other environmental leaders work the phones late into the afternoon, the bill's fate in the House appears very much up in the air. It's an imperfect bill to be sure, but I called Congressman DeFazio's office earlier today at 202.225.6416 to urge his support.
The vote is very big deal. Undecided progressives like DeFazio should keep the bill alive and send it to the Senate.
From Huffington Post:
As a vote on a controversial climate change bill approached on Friday afternoon, Democrats on the Hill were turning their attention to progressive Democrats rather than attempting to recruit more Republican support for the measure.
The late-stage whip count on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 has produced a particular political irony. A measure crafted by two progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives -- Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) -- over the course many years could hinge on the willingness of members of their own party to compromise.
For a bill that could be decided by one or two votes, holdouts could make all the difference.
"The irony here is that this bill, which people like Waxman and others have been working on for years, could be derailed, not by the right wing," said one high-ranking Democrat, "but by members of their own party. This could be the classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face."
The key argument being conveyed is that this bill is the last big bite at the environmental policy apple."If it goes down, climate change is stymied," said one Democratic aide.
In addition, progressives are being asked to support the measure now while keeping open the option of opposing it later. The Senate, after all, has to pass a climate change bill of its own, after which the two chambers will merge their products in committee and send it back for a final vote. House progressives, in short, will get another chance to make their principled stand.
"Rather than kill it now, we have got to keep the process moving," said the Democrat.
Read the rest here.
Here's Dan Kammen's take (Kammen was part of the team of IPCC scientists who won the Nobel Prize in 2007 and a great OLCV banquet speaker a few months ago):
Imported fossil fuel energy costs the United States roughly the same amount each year as the TARP program. These purchases constitute the largest component of our foreign debt. Instead, we could be putting this $800 billion to work creating jobs and industries, and investing in education and training, instead of literally pouring these funds down oil and gas wells overseas. The American Clean Energy and Security Act is an exceptionally important statement and moment. It essentially encompasses recognition -- long overdue -- of the need to treat the environment with respect by establishing a price for pollution, and a recognition that we can use the market to help spur innovation.
Yes, the Waxman-Markey bill is complex and extensive, but it signals both a critical need to clean our energy economy, and a chance to create in the United States the companies that can lead the next Industrial Revolution. It is not a perfect bill, but absolutely should be passed.
See this report we released to the European Union last week.
Read Joe Romm and others at Politico.