Obama Praises Energy Bill, Calls For Senate Passage
In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama praised the House of Representatives for passing the energy bill last night, calling it an important component of economic growth and technological development. And he urge the Senate to follow suit quickly:
"Now my call to every Senator, as well as to every American, is this: We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past," said Obama. "Don't believe the misinformation out there that suggests there is somehow a contradiction between investing in clean energy and economic growth. It's just not true."
Boehner Blasts "Go-It-Alone" Democrats
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) delivered the Republican address this weekend, going after the Democrats on the issues of spending, health care and energy:
"Republicans are offering common-sense solutions that will make a real difference in creating jobs, making health care more affordable, and promoting a cleaner, healthier environment, and reducing energy costs," said Boehner. "We hope our Democrat colleagues will abandon their failed go-it-alone approach and work with us to make these reforms a reality."
After House Minority Leader John Boehner's pseudo-filibuster, the final vote on the Waxman-Markey bill was 219-212 with eight Republicans voting in favor and 44 Democrats voting against. Interestingly, at least one Democrat voted for the bill but was then cleared to switch to a 'no' vote once final passage was assured. The bill needed only 218 votes to pass, but the single additional vote will spare certain vulnerable Democrats from the charge that they were the deciding vote on the bill's success.
The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, has drafted an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that bypassing Congress could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) took to the House floor this evening, in order to make what may be the strongest Republican argument there is against the climate-change bill -- that it represents a full-scale takeover of "every aspect" of people's lives by a tyrannical government:
Bachmann recited various statistics about how awful the bill would be. "But what is worse than this is the fact that now because of this underlying bill, the federal government will virtually have control over every aspect of lives for the American people," she said. "It is time to stand up and say: We get to choose. We choose liberty, or we choose tyranny -- it's one of the two."
As I reported yesterday, House Minority Leader John Boehner has seemingly traded in his old talking point on cap and trade legislation for a blue chart with brightly colored words on it.
Moments ago, he brought his new weapon to the House floor.
Unfortunately for Boehner, it doesn't seem to be changing anybody's mind with respect to the Waxman-Markey bill. But more unfortunately for its supporters, he's also poised to drag this debate on for hours by reading a recently incorporated 300 page amendment to the bill out loud. A pseudo-filibuster, if you will, to delay the vote as long as possible.
The House of Representatives will soon begin the mark up process on its so-called tri-committee health care proposal, and in these early stages, discussions are under way between the bill's advocates and its potential opponents to help build support for it. One of the key legislators in this process is Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) who has considerable clout with moderates in his party.
I asked him a bit about his coalition building yesterday, and here's what he had to say.
"People are still looking at it and trying to understand it and asking questions. A fair number of moderates are with us, a fair number of moderates have reservations. I met with a number of my friends who you might call moderates, or Blue Dogs, last night and we talked about their concerns and about how their concerns can be met with a bill that I would regard as responsible."
Certain Blue Dogs have raised objections to the public insurance option (or aspects thereof) some of which were addressed when that particular provision was being drafted.
Earlier today, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) gave a blistering speech on the House floor, attacking the Waxman-Markey bill from the left and urging members to oppose it. Here's video via Friends of the Earth.
But just moments ago he had a change of heart. He called the GOP a "flat-Earth society" and said he would vote for the bill. That's some whip operation they've got going on over there.
Democrats are taking direct aim at former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, who is now the Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey -- with aggressive accusations that his office did something fishy in awarding special contracts for monitoring corporations.
As we posted yesterday, Christie appeared yesterday before a House Judiciary subcommittee, looking into his involvement in a deferred prosecution agreement -- deals by which corporations in legal trouble would avoid prosecution and agree to hire law firms to oversee their operations. At the hearing, Dems hammered Christie with questions about a super-expensive deal secured by former Attorney General John Ashcroft's law firm.
The New Jersey Democrats put out a press release openly accusing Christie of lying to Congress, by saying that there was not a genuine impasse in negotiating the contracts when the Dems say there in fact was one. The press release even goes so far as to cite the federal statute outlawing false statements to Congress, with a penalty of up to eight years imprisonment!
I don't have a complete list, but as the Waxman-Markey bill makes its way to a final vote, it's worth pointing out that just about all of the undecided Democrats who've come off the fence have announced that they will vote for it.
Some prominent examples: Reps Ike Skelton (D-MO), David Scott (D-GA), Sander Levin (D-MI), and, possibly, uber-Blue Dog Allen Boyd (D-FL)