Remember that last-minute, 300-page amendment to the cap-and-trade bill that hit the House just hours before the vote approving it? The one that Democrats insisted on putting up for a vote before anyone had the chance to read it? When one reads the contents of it, as the Washington Times’ Edward Felker did, it becomes apparent why Henry Waxman and Edward Markey pushed it through so quickly. It was a payoff for Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) to turn her back on coal-producing Ohio and vote to kill the economy in her state, and she wasn’t alone:
When House Democratic leaders were rounding up votes Friday for the massive climate-change bill, they paid special attention to their colleagues from Ohio who remained stubbornly undecided.
They finally secured the vote of one Ohioan, veteran Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, the old-fashioned way. They gave her what she wanted – a new federal power authority, similar to Washington state’s Bonneville Power Administration, stocked with up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money available for lending to renewable energy and economic development projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, included the Kaptur project in a 310-page amendment to the legislation unveiled at 3 a.m. Friday, just hours before the bill was to be debated on the House floor. The amendment was packed with other vote-getting provisions, both large and small, that had been sought by dozens of wavering Democrats.
How many of the Representatives who voted for this bill saw this boondoggle? The House clerk could not produce a copy of the final version of the bill during the debate. The amendment itself got published in the wee hours of Friday morning. By the time the House came to order and began debate, it hadn’t yet been noted by the media.
In essence, Waxman and Markey bought Kaptur with our money. They spent $3.5 billion for a single vote in Congress, and Kaptur had willingly put herself up for sale. Never mind that Ohio will get hard by caps on the use of coal. Ohioans will lose jobs, their energy bills will skyrocket, and that will have an inflationary effect on all goods and services as the jobless rate escalates. Kaptur, at least, doesn’t mind that at all; she got her pet project, and it only cost the rest of us three times more than the Obama administration demanded cut from missile defense in 2010.
Democrats have to fight big regional resistance in the Senate to get cap-and-trade passed. However, they have an advantage: they have no shame about spending our money to do it. Get ready for more Midnight Amendments with pork by the billions in order to squeeze this sausage out of the Senate.