Yesterday, as if he knew the results of the Massachusetts Senate race, retiring Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) ruled out the possibility of the Senate considering a cap-and-trade bill. The reluctance of the Senate to take up a comprehensive global warming bill coincides with increasing public skepticism. Despite these obvious warning signs that global warming policies are quickly becoming a third rail in American politics, intelligent insiders suggest the President will continue to emphasize cap-and-trade and its job creation ability in his State of the Union Address next week.
Of course, readers of the Foundry know that cap-and-trade does not create jobs – it destroys them. Heritage found that the House-passed cap-and-trade bill would result net job losses approaching 1.9 million in 2012 and 2.5 million by 2035.
Why then is the President pushing an unpopular policy that doesn’t help the economy? Conventional wisdom suggests the threat of regulatory action will spur lawmakers to pass a cap-and-trade program of their own. That argument has failed to persuade even a majority of Senators to act.
Now, the Senate is poised to begin a frontal assault on the Administration’s failing strategy. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) plans to introduce a Resolution of Disapproval, which is one of the only ways for elected officials to block regulations enacted by our unelected bureaucracy. The effort is widely considered a long shot because it must be passed by both chambers and signed by the President.
However, it would be dangerous to dismiss the effort as Senators take notice of a changing public mood and the continued economic malaise. It is clear that cap-and-trade is a non-starter in the Senate. The question becomes why is repealing a regulation that costs job, increases the cost of energy and hurts small businesses a non-starter? In short, it may not be.