Democrats co-sponsor House bill to curb EPA

posted at 12:15 pm on March 3, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The effort to rein in the EPA and its attempts to impose a climate-change agenda that Congress wouldn’t pass over the last two years has always had bipartisan support in the Senate, although the enthusiasm of such support has been questionable.  Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has been pushing a measure that would impose a two-year moratorium on enforcement of the EPA’s finding on carbon dioxide, the heart of its new push for regulatory adventurism, a position that has been criticized as insufficient by Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who wants a permanent limitation of EPA authority to ensure that it doesn’t stray from Congressional mandates.

In the House, though, finding Democratic support for a leash on the EPA has been more difficult — until now:

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) told POLITICO on Wednesday that he will be co-sponsoring the legislation from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) that puts a freeze on EPA’s regulatory agenda for major industrial polluters like power plants and petroleum refiners.

“The EPA needs to be reined in,” said Peterson, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee and a frequent critic of the agency.

Upton and Whitfield, the chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, have been offering small changes to their bill in their courtship of moderate and conservative Democrats like Peterson. Support from House Democrats, they hope, will put pressure on Senate Democrats and the Obama White House to accept their legislation.

Peterson comes from a rural district in this state.  He avoided the disastrous outcome of his colleague Jim Oberstar in neighboring MN-08, mainly by keeping his mouth shut instead of acting like a cranky old man when challenged on his record by Lee Byberg in the midterms, and attempting to keep his own voting record moderate enough to withstand a tough election cycle.  Peterson’s defection from Pelosi’s ranks on the EPA will hurt Democratic cohesion — and more importantly, his senior position within the caucus lends considerable bipartisan heft to Upton’s efforts.

But Peterson isn’t alone, either.  Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) will add his name to the list of “original” co-sponsors, too, and adds some rhetorical fuel to the fire as well:

Blake Androff, Rahall’s spokesman, confirmed Thursday morning that the lawmaker will be an “original co-sponsor” of the legislation.

“I am dead-set against the EPA’s plowing ahead on its own with new regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions,” Rahall said in a statement provided to The Hill. “The Congress – the place where the People’s will reigns – is the appropriate body to design a program with such sweeping ramifications.”

The legislation will block EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources. Lawmakers floated a draft version of the bill last month.

Congress will need that bipartisan imprimatur lent by Peterson and Rahall, and hopefully other Democrats in the House and Senate, if for no other reason than to defend Congressional checks on executive power.  Republicans have the votes in both chambers to pass some kind of EPA limitation in this session of Congress, but they will also need Barack Obama’s signature on it to get it passed into law.  A month ago, Obama issued a rare veto threat on any bill that limited the EPA’s authority on greenhouse gases, and he’s almost certainly not bluffing.  The GOP might need to pass this as a rider on a funding bill in order to avoid the veto.

Even if Obama vetoes the bill, though, it will still be a useful exercise.  Obama will have put himself in the position of defying Congress’ bipartisan will on the EPA’s authority in an effort to increase the regulatory burden on business and the economy.  Running on that in 2012 won’t help Obama win re-election, and it will also hurt Democrats trying to keep seats in Congress, especially in the Senate.


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Will wonders never cease.

J.E. Dyer on March 3, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Let’s get that Obama veto. It should come just about the time gas prices hit $5.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 3, 2011 at 12:18 PM

But without the EPA, who will keep the dust from rising on the nearby gravel roads? Dear Gaia, think of the dusty children!

Bishop on March 3, 2011 at 12:19 PM

demonrats trying to save their jobs. That’s all. zero will veto it.

VegasRick on March 3, 2011 at 12:21 PM

The R’s should be putting bills in front of Obama to veto every week about any number of things.

txhsmom on March 3, 2011 at 12:21 PM

“Reined in”? How about eliminated.

rrpjr on March 3, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Veto, baby, veto.

OmahaConservative on March 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Kermit was right. It ain’t easy being green!

cartooner on March 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

more please. i love me some bi-partisanship when THEY have to reach across the aisle….

unseen on March 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

Elections have consequences.

mankai on March 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Let Barry veto the legislation, THEN HANG IT AROUND HIS NECK!

GarandFan on March 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM

I would rather have a veto proof majority on this one. I also want to win the lottery.

Cindy Munford on March 3, 2011 at 12:29 PM

The GOP might need to pass this as a rider on a funding bill in order to avoid the veto.

Well, it looks like there will be a CR about every two weeks. Plenty of opportunity.

a capella on March 3, 2011 at 12:30 PM

It’s well past time to curb the EPA. It along with any number of Federal agencies needs to be put to sleep.

jpmn on March 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM

“The Congress – the place where the People’s will reigns – is the appropriate body to design a program with such sweeping ramifications.”

How many lies can a Democrat pile into a single sentence?

In reality, the “People’s will” barely gets a look-in amid the posturings of our preening royalty. Not to pick on the Dems alone here; Republican political hacks are equally adept at looking out for…themselves.

I suppose one could say that our bought-and-paid-for Congress, made up as it is of no-talent lifers, small-business failures and assorted human detritus, knows a hell of a lot more about what emissions might damage the environment — they are, after all, responsible for a good bit of said pollution — but I wouldn’t say that. I’d prefer scientists (true scientists who focus on what is real and true, with no axes to grind, not than the alarmist whiners Al Bore loves to dredge up) making the decisions.

MrScribbler on March 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Too early to celebrate but looks good.

It seems like the business of Congress is trying to stop all the messes that Obama has made.

What did Congress do before Obama?

Remember Jay Leno’s socialist mop… what did Obama clean up again? He pretty much signed on to all the stuff he didn’t like didn’t he?

Then he created a big fat mess. I guess socialist mops just move dirt around and spread infection.

petunia on March 3, 2011 at 12:36 PM

Don’t forget, Obama plans on running on a platform of raising taxes in 2012 by letting the *Bush tax cuts for the rich* expire. There is so much ammo for the GOP nominee to use, we just need to find someone who isn’t afraid to use it.

Mord on March 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM

Leave it to the democrats to screw it up. Close is not spelled C U R B.

Vashta.Nerada on March 3, 2011 at 12:37 PM

a position that has been criticized as insufficient by Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who wants a permanent limitation of EPA authority to ensure that it doesn’t stray from Congressional mandates.

Permanent limitation sounds good, but de-fund and dismantle sounds better.

Tim Zank on March 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has been pushing a measure that would impose a two-year moratorium on enforcement of the EPA’s finding on carbon dioxide, the heart of its new push for regulatory adventurism, a position that has been criticized as insufficient by Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who wants a permanent limitation of EPA authority to ensure that it doesn’t stray from Congressional mandates.

That still doesn’t go far enough for me. The EPA should be eliminated, and Carol Browner sent to prison.

UltimateBob on March 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM

THIS:

The R’s should be putting bills in front of Obama to veto every week about any number of things.

txhsmom on March 3, 2011 at 12:21 PM

They should bombard Obama with reforms.

Even if it’s small stuff. They should pass single issue bills and get it done. They should keep him busy daily either signing laws or vetoing them.

He won’t have time to destroy the country this way.

gary4205 on March 3, 2011 at 12:43 PM

more please. i love me some bi-partisanship when THEY have to reach across the aisle….

unseen on March 3, 2011 at 12:23 PM

This may be faux bipartisanship. They want to “appear” to
be cooperating on a bill that Obama will veto. Not to
be cynical (ha!), however, I suspect that who would vote for
and who would not was decided by the democraps behind a closed door somewhere.

It is the major thing I dislike about politics – mostly smoke and mirrors. Most of them could care less about our country.

Amjean on March 3, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Make that douche bag veto the bill. Then we can make him choke on it come 2012.

search4truth on March 3, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Republicans have the votes in both chambers to pass some kind of EPA limitation in this session of Congress, but they will also need Barack Obama’s signature on it to get it passed into law. A month ago, Obama issued a rare veto threat on any bill that limited the EPA’s authority on greenhouse gases, and he’s almost certainly not bluffing. The GOP might need to pass this as a rider on a funding bill in order to avoid the veto.

Even if Obama vetoes the bill, though, it will still be a useful exercise.

Obama’s veto on a Congressional attempt to limit EPA’s power will also give Republicans cover for the next step–completely de-fund EPA until regulations on “greenhouse gases” are rescinded. A lot of coal-state Democrats could go along with this, and Obama would be forced to choose between EPA regulation of REAL pollutants but NOT CO2, or shutting down EPA and letting all polluters off scot-free.

Steve Z on March 3, 2011 at 12:50 PM

The GOP might need to pass this as a rider on a funding bill in order to avoid the veto.

An end around – love it- give ‘em some of their own medicine hahaha – just hope they have the cojones to follow through!

huskerdiva on March 3, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Count it!

/crr6

fossten on March 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM

a little snoopy dance can commence

cmsinaz on March 3, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Amjean beat me to it, but I suspect that this may be positioning for the next round of elections.

A month ago, Obama issued a rare veto threat on any bill that limited the EPA’s authority on greenhouse gases, and he’s almost certainly not bluffing.

Now the Democrats can beat their fists and make stirring speeches that mean absolutely nothing.

sharrukin on March 3, 2011 at 12:56 PM

OT: vinson made a ruling re: obamacare….
will stay the ruling for only 7 days so that dear leader can fast track that sucker

cmsinaz on March 3, 2011 at 12:56 PM

I love love love EPA stories. There is a local example of the the EPA and liberal stupidity.
The EPA is requiring that the People’s Republic of Portland put in a multi million dollar water treatment plant, along with many other cities, to treat for some component in the water. The good people of Portland believe, and it is proven, that the water is pretty clean and the likelihood of whatever this new plant would treat for almost couldn’t be smaller. So Portland wants a waiver. The EPA won’t give them one. The People’s Republic can’t understand why.
Hilarious. Ironic

ORconservative on March 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM

An end around – love it- give ‘em some of their own medicine hahaha – just hope they have the cojones to follow through!

huskerdiva on March 3, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Praying that they do, darlin’

OmahaConservative on March 3, 2011 at 12:57 PM

This may be the “welfare reform” bill of this election cycle. After the GOP took control of Congress in 1994, it passed two different welfare reform bills that Bill Clinton vetoed. They kept passing it, until Dick Morris finally convinced Clinton to sign it as his reelection campaign weas getting into full swing. He might not have been reelected at all if he had not signed that bill. And there were a handful of high-profile appointees in his Administration that resigned over it. The Left went crazy. But it was a very popular bill, and signing it was a huge symbol of Clinton moving back to the center.

Will Barack Obama risk his reelection over the regulation of greenhouse gases? Will Congress have the sack to keep passing it even if Obama keeps vetoing it? Will Bill Daley finally be able to talk some sense into Obama’s head and make him sign it, or doe Lisa Jackson really have that much sway over him?

rockmom on March 3, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Obama’s veto on a Congressional attempt to limit EPA’s power will also give Republicans cover for the next step–completely de-fund EPA until regulations on “greenhouse gases” are rescinded. A lot of coal-state Democrats could go along with this, and Obama would be forced to choose between EPA regulation of REAL pollutants but NOT CO2, or shutting down EPA and letting all polluters off scot-free.

Steve Z on March 3, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Obama will lose Pennsylvania if he goes to the mat on this, and he has zero chance of being reelected if he loses Pennsylvania.

rockmom on March 3, 2011 at 1:02 PM

The only problem with forcing Jug-ears to veto bills is that he gets to pose, with the fellating assistance of the media, as the lion at the gate, protecting America from those evil Republican bullies. Democrat House or Senate votes for the bills are simply ignored. Remember, he’s still inexplicably popular and he doesn’t have to win by much in 2012; he just has to win.

Let’s get that Obama veto. It should come just about the time gas prices hit $5.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 3, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Combine that with attendant inflation and high unemployment in 2012 and he’s cooked.

SKYFOX on March 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Slightly OT:
EPA is pushing a move to a new automotive A/C refrigerant to replace the current-use 134A. They claim it is much better at reducing greenhouse gasses.
The problems with it:
1) It’s flammable
2) Combustion and/or thermal decomposition byproducts are toxic and extremely corrosive (Hydrofluoric acid).

The EU is already using this material.

mad scientist on March 3, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Combine that with attendant inflation and high unemployment in 2012 and he’s cooked.

Obama should be “cooked” already; alas, many voters have bad memories and need to be constantly reminded.

Amjean on March 3, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Amjean on March 3, 2011 at 1:09 PM

it’s called kool-aid….they’re addicted to it i tell ya

cmsinaz on March 3, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Peterson’s defection from Pelosi’s ranks on the EPA will hurt Democratic cohesion…

Aw, that’s cute, Ed thinks this is something other than Democratic whip kabuki. Aren’t they just adorable at that age?

Let’s look at the facts. This bill is going to pass no matter what any Democrat does. Then it will either go nowhere in the Senate, or it will be vetoed by Commandante Zero. The whip count in the House is thus utterly irrelevant.

Knowing that, Pelosi lets one of her pet Blue Dogs off the chain to run around the yard barking for a while. Next week, there will be some different bill on a different subject with an identical destiny, and Pelosi will in due course let some different Blue Dog get his share of exercise. By next election, each Dog will have enough tiny scraps of “independent” credibility to stitch into a bandana around his neck. But as we saw last year, it won’t be the same Dog each time, and none of them will ever bolt on any legislation where his vote matters.

Wake me when a Blue Dog switches parties. Until then, everything, everything a Dog does is done only with permission from his mistress.

Fabozz on March 3, 2011 at 1:29 PM

The legislation will block EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.

So the EPA can still regulate humans, pigs, cows, planes, trains, automobiles, boats, lawnmowers etc. because they are not stationary.

barnone on March 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Plant life loves CO2, and animal life can’t live without plants. CO2 is a vital natural resource, and calling it a “pollutant” is totally ridiculous.

The big-government interests want an excuse to tax the very air we breathe, and EPA regulation of NATURAL GASSES IN THE ATMOSPHERE is their excuse. It’s attractive to big government because these gasses will never go away no matter what…and thus the taxes on them can never go down.

My “environment” is FREEDOM, and the EPA is a major polluter.

landlines on March 3, 2011 at 4:26 PM

The GOP might need to pass this as a rider on a funding bill in order to avoid the veto.

Ojesus Media Spin Machine:

Evil Rethuglicans holding the environment hostage for Big Energy.

We need some more Dems who are interested in keeping their jobs to join us in this hard pivot toward sanity.

Please, keep the pressure on your rep’s and senators, whether (D), (R), or Venusiun Heavy Metal Party. We can make a difference. We must make a difference if we want to pass to our children an economy that is not overburdened, overtaxed, under foreign manipulation, and under water.

We also need to expand the focus if this gets momentum; the Dep’t of Interior comes to mind — DOE, HUD, and many, many more…

hillbillyjim on March 3, 2011 at 10:23 PM

EPA is pushing a move to a new automotive A/C refrigerant to replace the current-use 134A. They claim it is much better at reducing greenhouse gasses.

mad scientist on March 3, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Keep in mind that R-134A was the accepted replacement for R-12, and it was supposed to be better at reducing….wait for it….greenhouse gasses.

runawayyyy on March 4, 2011 at 1:15 PM