Real-time thread for Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade vote today (scroll down for updates)

(202) 224-3121
VOTE NO ON H.R. 2454

I know I’m going overboard. I know it. But I want to hear tales of busted congressional switchboards. I want to hear that people are getting busy signals for ten minutes at a time. I worry, given the short attention span of the American people and the obvious distractions out there in the form of Michael Jackson’s death and the looming health care debate, this disastrous cap-and-trade bill will slide on through because our elected officials believe we won’t notice.

(202) 224-3121

This thing is 1,200 pages long, with 250 pages added over the past weekend alone (UPDATE: 300 more pages were added overnight!). Nobody will read it, yet it impacts nearly every aspect of every American’s daily life, and could continue to do so for generations to come. Generations. The Wall Street Journal, Warren Buffett, and Republican and Democrat lawmakers alike have identified and admitted that it is a tax of enormous proportions. It will exponentially increase energy costs for American families like mine, who live paycheck-to-paycheck with little if any wiggle-room. It will drive American business and industry overseas to nations that actually want business and industry. It will bankrupt our coal industry. Every effort made by Republicans to reel in the gross insanity, through measures that would repeal the bill if certain benchmarks–gasoline reaches $5 per gallon, unemployment reaches 15 percent, etc–were reached has been rebuffed by their counterparts across the aisle.

(202) 224-3121

The people behind this bill are intentionally working against American exceptionalism, and for what? Because trumped-up numbers invented to support junk scientific theories suggest we need a change? It disgusts me. And it should disgust you.

Please call your congressmen. Please. And please tell your friends, family and co-workers to do the same. I’ve been so optimistic about our ability to beat this thing; now, however, with everyone’s attention turned elsewhere — I simply don’t trust our lawmakers to do the right thing when nobody’s looking.

(202) 224-3121

For the Congressional Directory, click HERE.

For background on the Cap-and-Trade bill, click HERE.

10:45 a.m.

I called my congressman’s office, again. I had called previously, but after learning that a 300-page amendment was added onto the bill by Henry Waxman last night–bringing the legislation to 1,500 pages–I wanted to know whether or not Joe Sestak had read the bill in its entirety. I already knew he was going to vote in favor of it, because he thinks it will “strengthen the American economy” and “create jobs.”

Sestak’s people insisted that, yes, he has indeed read the bill and, yes, he read the bill in its entirety and, yes, I could go on-record saying as much.

I was sure to make their office understand that, for what it was worth, if Sestak voted in opposition to the bill, my chubby conservative arse would work overtime to help Sestak through the Senate primary against Arlen Specter in 2010; if he voted in favor of it, as he stated his intention to do, I’d do everything in my power to ensure he was defeated in the primary before even getting a shot at Pat Toomey.

These people need to know that this vote directly affects their chances at re-election. If you are in a coal-heavy state, use that as an argument to make.

1:05 p.m.

Take a look at this part of the bill. Someone e-mailed me about it, asking me to check into it, and here’s what I found out: Section 432 of the bill–beginning on PAGE 830!–details an “Energy Refund Program for Low Income Consumers.” Essentially, what that means is that any family with a gross income of less than 150 percent of the poverty line would receive a CASH REFUND each and every month, direct-deposited into the bank account of their choosing.

That’s right — you and I pay more (consider the estimates I’ve reported on before as to the increased cost of energy) and CASH WILL BE GIVEN TO POOR FAMILIES. Here’s the text of this particular section:

(1) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, or the agency designated by the Administrator shall formulate and administer the ‘‘Energy Refund Program’’.
(2) At the request of the State agency, eligible low-income households within the State shall receive a monthly cash energy refund equal to the estimated
loss in purchasing power resulting from this Act.
(1) ELIGIBLE HOUSEHOLDS.—Participation in the Energy Refund Program shall be limited to a household that—
(A) the State agency determines to be participating in
(i) the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program authorized by the Food and
Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.);
(ii) the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations authorized by section 4(b) of such Act (7 U.S.C. 2013(b)); or
(iii) the program for nutrition assistance in Puerto Rico or American
Samoa under section 19 of the such Act (7 U.S.C. 2028);
(B) has gross income that does not exceed 150 percent of the poverty line; or
(C) consists of a single individual or a married couple and (i) receives the subsidy de23 scribed in section 1860D–14 of the Social Secu rity Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–114); or (ii)(I) participates in the program under section XVIII of the Social Security Act; and (II) meets the income requirements described in section 1860D–
3(a)(1) or (a)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w–114(a)(1) or (a)(2)).

(1) MONTHLY ENERGY REFUND.—The monthly refund under this subsection for households of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 or more members shall be equal to the maximum energy tax credit amount calculated under section 36B(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for each household size, divided by 12 and rounded to the nearest whole dollar amount.
(2) MONTHLY ELIGIBILITY.—A household shall not be eligible for the refund under this section for months that the household has not established eligibility under subsection (b).

(1) Subject to standards and an implementation schedule set by the Administrator, the energy refund shall be provided in monthly installments via—
(A) direct deposit into the eligible household’s designated bank account;
(B) the State’s electronic benefit transfer system; or
(C) another Federal or State mechanism, if such a mechanism is approved by the Administrator.

What more proof do we need that this bill has absolutely NOTHING to do with the environment, with energy independence, or with anything other than the transfer of wealth and the death of American exceptionalism? This bill is insane.

Last night, I was able to get in touch with William Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. It was really late notice–an idiot move on my part, not thinking to ask sooner–but I asked a series of questions about the effects this legislation will have on the coal industry. I don’t know if Mr. Raney will have answers back to me before the vote goes down (I certainly can’t blame him, given my boneheaded late notice), but whenever they come the answers should be interesting.

1:25 p.m.

I just got another e-mail saying that Rush Limbaugh has been talking about the refund program, and that he says the House switchboard is overloaded. Excellent, on both accounts. These are the times when I wish I had a radio at work, or could listen online.

1:45 p.m.

Robert Wallace pointed out an excellent piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, Kimberley Strassel’s “The Climate Change Climate Change.” I agree with Robert that the entire commentary is worth a read, but here is a brief excerpt:

In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming. In the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus remains a leading skeptic, today only 11% of the population believes humans play a role. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country’s new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. New Zealand last year elected a new government, which immediately suspended the country’s weeks-old cap-and-trade program.

The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. — 13 times the number who authored the U.N.’s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world’s first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak “frankly” of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming “the worst scientific scandal in history.” Norway’s Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the “new religion.” A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton’s Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists’ open letter.)

The collapse of the “consensus” has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth’s temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.

1:50 p.m.

I understand that people are a little discouraged by the results of the test vote. Don’t be. It’s meant to bring on fence-sitters who want to spinelessly want to come down on the winning side.

Keep those phones going, and those fingers tapping. If, at the end of the day, our elected officials don’t want to listen — then they’re going to have to live with the consequences.

3:30 p.m.

Rumors abound. Some say that the bill has been pulled — it hasn’t. Limbaugh apparently said that the Democrats were 12 votes short with 17 congress members still undecided. Hannity apparently mentioned on the radio that it was all tied up at 210 each. Point being, it’s not over. Not by a long shot.

Walking through Philadelphia between courthouses a few minutes ago, and I heard at least six or seven cars blaring Michael Jackson music. It’s a shame that so many Americans are so well informed with regard to nearly every aspect of Jackson’s life and death, yet are unaware of what’s currently happening on Capitol Hill.

3:45 p.m.

Newspapers across the nation, even traditionally left-leaning papers (isn’t that most of them?), have been absolutely excoriating this bill. Here’s a smattering of critical editorials:

The Obama-Waxman-Markey energy crisis . . . Regardless of the bill’s length, however, it’s highly unlikely that more than a handful of members will have actually read the bill before they vote. It’s such eyes-wide-shut voting by Congress that allows such monstrosities as this to become law… the bill will sock it to every American who drives a car, has a monthly utility bill or buys essentials like food and clothing. Experts estimate the annual costs will approach $3,000 for every family within a few years . . . But not everybody will be losers. Politicians in Congress will have more tax dollars to spend and there will be thousands of new jobs for Washington, D.C., bureaucrats.
The San Francisco Examiner, June 25, 2009

Waxman-Markey . . . is this the best we can hope for? . . . During the campaign, President Obama supported the cleanest variation of this mechanism: selling all emission allowances at auction. This week he abandoned that sensible stance with a full-throated endorsement of Waxman-Markey, which gives away 85 percent of the pollution credits in the first years of the program and provides many avenues potentially to evade compliance…we think it’s too soon to settle for something that falls so far short of ideal.
The Washington Post, June 26, 2009

The Cap and Tax Fiction… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put cap-and-trade legislation on a forced march through the House . . . It looks as if the Democrats will have to destroy the discipline of economics to get it done . . . The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars… Even as Democrats have promised that this cap-and-trade legislation won’t pinch wallets, behind the scenes they’ve acknowledged the energy price tsunami that is coming… Americans should know that those Members who vote for this climate bill are voting for what is likely to be the biggest tax in American history. Even Democrats can’t repeal that reality.
The Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2009

Climate change bill all pain, no gain… The 1,200-plus-page legislation is a Christmas tree of political favors to buy necessary votes . . . What is wrong with this bill? Almost too many things to count . . . the system would be a hidden tax on energy that would cost every American, including the middle class and lower-income people that President Barack Obama promised he would never tax… the bill has become a festival of rent-seeking, the economists’ term for the search for privilege and gain through the political process. Some day people will look back on the process and compare it to the medieval practice of “bleeding” patients to cure their diseases.
The Orange County Register, June 25, 2009

‘Waxman-Markey: Man-Made Disaster… Not since a misguided piece of legislation imposed tariffs that turned a recession into a depression has there been a piece of legislation as bad as Waxman-Markey… Its centerpiece is a “cap and trade” provision that has been rightfully derided as “cap and tax.” It is in fact a tax on energy everywhere it is consumed on everything it is used to make or provide. It is the largest tax increase in American history… Consumers would pay through the nose as electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, as President Obama once put it, by 90% adjusted for inflation… Hit hardest by all this would be the “95% of working families” Obama keeps mentioning as being protected from increased taxation.
Investor’s Business Daily, June 25, 2009

Between a rock and a hard place… President Obama proposed a 700-page energy bill to encourage the development of new energy sources and discourage the use of coal over time by capping carbon emissions… These costs would be borne by customers through their utility bills… The war on coal, and the accompanying cap-and-trade mumbo-jumbo, would clobber West Virginia and West Virginians.
Charleston Daily Mail, June 24, 2009

‘Cap and trade’ scheme rife with problems . . . At a time when the economy is in shambles, with 14.5 million people unemployed, the president is seeking quick approval of a bill that would take a wrecking ball to U.S. industry, especially agriculture . . . But just such a “cap and trade” program has a lousy record in Europe. This has only added to long-standing fears about its being an ungainly, ineffective, overly bureaucratic approach that could be gamed by insiders… the public would throw a fit over a big new tax. Instead, the gigantic cost which the public inevitably would bear should be hidden via ‘cap and trade.’… Unfortunately, we are now enmeshed in a debate in which the dominant voices either shout down or try to shame those who disagree with their policy prescriptions. If they get their way, here’s the grim likely result: a continuation of global warming and a crippled U.S. economy.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 19, 2009

And read more editorials pointing out the lack of common sense inherent in the Waxman-Markey legislation from these other papers:

4:00 p.m.

Sean Hannity is reporting on his radio show that the informal tally is 214 apiece. Obviously, the actual vote will not come until this evening, but this is still making me tear my hair out. Regardless of the effects of Waxman-Markey on the climate or the economy, it is certainly resulting in the expansion of the flesh yarmulke atop my head.

4:15 p.m.

I’ve found a C-SPAN feed — these people cannot even find a full copy of the bill to read from. This is absolutely incredible. Rep. Price was fantastic. Congressman Shadegg–love that guy–was pounding the Democrats on the incomplete nature of the bill being debated.

5:20 p.m.

Steny Hoyer, House No. 2, just explained the bill as an honest-to-goodness effort to ensure that “foreign interests” can no longer raise energy costs for the American people. Yeah. This way, Washington interests can do so.

I remember, just a few years ago, listening to the global warming activists and considering the legislation that could result from the craze caused by that just science. I never thought it would actually be close to passage — it just seemed so contrary to common sense. Now, as I listen to Hoyer justify this according to his ignorant, anti-capitalist, anti-American logic, it makes me want to scream. My God, I hope we’re wise enough to kill this bill.

“To those who complain about the costs of the bill, I argue that we are already paying the price of carbon emissions,” he says. That’s crap. Total crap — and this bill isn’t about carbon anyway! It’s about the redistribution of wealth, about taking America down a peg. Nobody else will do anything, and we’ll be en route to being the greenest, third-world has-been on Earth.

5:50 p.m.

House Minority Leader John Boehner was reading from the 300-page amendment added by Henry Waxman early this morning for about 25 minutes before Waxman tried to cut him off through parliamentary procedure, accusing him of stalling and trying to force people to leave from a close vote. Thankfully, the House yielded, and allowed Boehner to speak.

“Wouldn’t you think the American people would like us to understand what’s in this bill?” Boehner asked.

Go get ‘em, John.

If you told me that, at any time in my life, I would say that C-SPAN is “must-see-TV,” I would have called you crazy. But it is.

6:15 p.m.

Posted an hour ago by The Washington Post:

White House Drafts Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects

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.

Read more . . .

Nice play by the White House. Friday afternoons are always great spots to drop potentially troublesome news. Combine that with nonstop media coverage of Michael Jackson’s death and, in political circles, the news surrounding the cap-and-trade vote, and they’ve pretty much done all they can to avoid everyone pointing out that Barack Obama is looking a whole lot like former President George W. Bush.

6:20 p.m.

Thanks to John Feeny for pointing this one out — according to Fox News, Rhode Island Democrat Patrick Kennedy (Teddy Kennedy’s son) has checked himself out of a rehabilitation
to assist his party in passing the Waxman-Markey bill.

Perhaps he could bring the rest of the Democrats back with him when he checks back in — they’ve got to all be drunk off their behinds to defend this piece of legislation.

6:30 p.m.

It sounds like Boehner is wrapping things up. You know, I’ve never been extremely high on the Minority Leader–think of the seats we’ve lost under his leadership–but, today, John Boehner did the American people a great, great service.

Henry Waxman, however, is a penis. He stood up, and with an upturned nose (or is that how he normally looks?) asked: “The gentleman, the Minority Leader, was yielded two-and-a-half minutes . . . can you tell me how much he consumed?”

California Rep. Ellen Tauscher, in the Speaker’s seat, responded: “The gentleman used the customary amount of time yielded to the Minority Leader.”

I actually stood up and applauded . . . a Democrat . . . on C-SPAN. I’m losing it, I swear.

It goes without saying that these people should know the ins and outs of every piece of legislation that crosses their desk. Yes, it is time-consuming, but perhaps that alone could stem the tide of expanding federal government.

6:38 p.m.

First up, the substitute amendment. I would imagine that this could give us some insight as to how the main vote will turn out.

7:00 p.m.

Game on. Oh, boy.

7:10 p.m.

This is gut-wrenching. So much at stake. My daughter is playing on the floor in front of me. I don’t want her saddled with this. I want her growing up in a prosperous America, not the America these people have envisioned.

7:15 p.m.

It just passed, or at least it looks like it. Not final yet. Still, I don’t know what to say.

Okay. It’s final. 219 to 212. Eight Republicans voted in favor of it. I want their names, and will be sure to get them. You know, John Boehner sounded good two hours ago when he was speaking out on behalf of the American people, but the failure of his leadership is screamingly evident in those eight Republicans gone astray. We were able to unite against the so-called “stimulus” package — we should have been able to do the same over this.

In the meantime, don’t be too down in the mouth. This isn’t over. It still must get through the Senate. Furthermore, this is a piece of legislation that, if passed, WILL hurt. The details of this bill can and will be used to defeat the Democrats in 2010 and beyond.

8:00 p.m.

Okay, so the Los Angeles Times said that “only” eight Republicans voted for this bill. Only. Yeah. One was too many. Regardless, here they are (click for their contact information):

It should also be noted that Jeff Flake of Arizona and John Sullivan of Oklahoma did not vote. I like Congressman Flake. Shame.

I’m going to write a few letters myself. Of course, I’ll be polite. But I’ll also be firm, noting that this disastrous legislation simply could not have passed without their help. I hope all of you do the same.

It really makes you wonder what goes on behind the scenes. Democrat North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield, for example, voted in favor of the bill today but not too long ago was quoted as saying things like “For a low income family, it’s absolutely impossible for them to absorb the costs” and “The cost of everything will go up.” It’s sad, whatever it is.

10:30 p.m.

I just received an excellent piece from Robert Wallace. Look for it later tonight or early tomorrow morning. I haven’t decided if I want to write something in the aftermath of today’s vote tonight, or if I want to let things marinate over the weekend a little bit. We’ll see.

In the meantime, thanks for hanging out today. It’s always a little strange doing these types of posts, but different is fun. I just wish things had turned out a little differently.



  1. LET'S FACE IT says:

    I get vertigo looking at Waxman's photo…. seems everything is going in different directions. Where would a surgeon even start?



    Calling for: continental congress

    Support Bob Schulz ASAP

    we are waisting out time with DC, the reps etc.

    By God's Grace,


  3. VOTE? says:

    First, sworn to the Constitution, right? then constituents, THEN America????? I can't see doing something to screw America tho to make my neighborhood content. Who in the hell would want to be a congressman?

  4. John In Alabama says:

    In reference to your comment; "It really makes you wonder what goes on behind the scenes."

    My understanding Jeff, is that it was a foregone conclusion that the bill WAS going to pass.

    What went on "behind the scenes" was to determine which democrats would be allowed "off the hook" and be allowed to vote against the bill in order to save their political thin skins, AND which RINO's would be allowed to vote FOR the bill for the same reasons.

    The REAL debate and "politicking" was all about who would be allowed to vote which way that would cause the least amount of damage back home.

    Please note: all the RINO's who voted for the bill come from majority democrat / liberal states who could be hurt politically if they were seen as evil destroyers of "Hope and Change"

  5. Gail B says:

    Jeff, thanks for putting the links to the RINOs' contact pages. It made it a lot easier to write my letters.

    John in Alabama, thanks for clearing that up. I was beginning to wonder if they were being paid or threatened.

    It's still the worst piece of legislation in history! –and the most damaging to the country, regardless of where they're from!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Celia in Texas…you missed the point…I didn't say I thought they should vote for it!!!! I am only quoting what Morris said…paraphrasing, actually, and poorly at that; however… These democrats who voted against it were the ones whose constituents are more conservative, and they were only buying more time and future elections. The republicans who voted FOR IT are from liberal districts, mostly, and they didn't want to be perceived as hindering the One…as someone else pointed out just above my comment. What don't you understand? Go to Dick's site and read up on it for yourself. The point, dear, is it is typical political hypocrisy and manipulation…all a part of the strategy. Street terms: we're gettin' played AGAIN!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, tm…well said and much appreciated.

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