Last week, both the House and Senate voted on legislation to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon dioxide emissions. The House passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910) by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. The Senate, however, was unable to pass similar legislation, even though over the course of various votes a total of 64 Senators voted to limit EPA’s authority in one way or another.
The mood of the country is clearly shifting against the President’s agenda of increasing energy prices by regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. During the campaign, the President said that “under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” He worked to implement that plan by promoting the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill in 2009. That bill passed the House by 219 to 212 on June 26, 2009. Waxman-Markey didn’t get a vote in the Senate because it became obvious that Americans understood that cap-and-trade was a massive energy tax.
After the last election, President Obama acknowledged that cap-and-trade was dead. But he didn’t stop promoting the same policies that regulate carbon dioxide. At the time, he said there was “more than one way to skin a cat” and instead of listening to the will of the American people and Congress, Obama’s EPA moved to regulate carbon dioxide. These regulations have the same effect as cap-and-trade—they will massively increase the cost of using natural gas, coal, and gasoline.
The vast majority of the Members of Congress understand the dire economic consequences of regulating carbon dioxide emissions. They also understand that even EPA’s regulations will have no meaningful impact on global temperature. In other words, the regulations are all cost and no benefit. That’s why an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act to stop EPA’s harmful regulations. Nineteen democrats voted for the bill, while not a single Republican voted against the bill.
But limiting EPA overreach isn’t as easy in the Senate. Last week the Senate voted on a number of proposals to limiting EPA’s authority, but none passed. The closest any measure came to passing was Sen. Inhofe and Sen. McConnell’s amendment to nullify EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations altogether. That amendment failed on a 50 to 50 vote. But there were a number of other amendments considered which limited EPA’s regulatory authority in some way. All told, 64 senators voted against the administration’s policies including 17 Democrats who broke with their party for one vote or another.
The stated goal of the Obama administration and various cabinet members is to increase the price of energy. EPA’s regulations are a tool the administration is using. But gasoline prices are already too high for many Americans and some people are already being forced to cut back on their transportation use.
Americans should not be forced to pay more for energy. But until enough citizens can convince more Senators to vote to repeal the Obama administration’s regulations, we can only expect energy prices to continue to rise.