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By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
November 8, 2009

In spite of the growing opposition by the American people, US Senate Democrats rammed an unprecedented climate bill (S. 1733) through a Senate committee on Thursday.

California Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the powerful Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, had postponed the bill's vote for several days due to her need to address Republican members' protests. The major disagreement is the cost of the bill and its impact on the US economy.

However, Senator Boxer decided to take advantage of the Fort Hood incident and the continuing health care debate to quietly pass the bill, according to one Washington insider. It also helped her to have the name of the bill changed from "Cap-and-Trade," since that term has caused widespread criticism by a majority of Americans.

"Senator Boxer used the tragic {shootings at Fort Hood] to cloak the partisan passage of a bill certain to hurt a majority of American citizens," said political strategist Mike Baker.

"Boxer wields a lot of power in the Senate and she's known as an abrasive, hard-nosed infighter," he added.

The bill passed through Boxer's committee with an 11-1 vote. The Democrats voted without any of the seven Republican Senators attending the session. The GOP Senators were angry over many aspects of the bill including a provision that would set mandatory limits on heat-trapping gases. Also the bill will increase gasoline prices.

Boxer said during a press conference that the Republican demand for more analysis was "duplicative and waste of taxpayer dollars."

Boxer introduced the bill along with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry last September. Only one of the Democrat Senators voted against the legislation. Senator Max Baucus of Montana voted against the bill claiming that he has serious concerns about the bill. He gave as an example the bill's call for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020.


In order to get the legislation out of committee and onto the Senate floor without the Republicans present will prevent the Democrats from tinkering or fine tuning the bill's provisions.

The Senate's Kerry-Boxer climate bill is similar to the Waxman-Markey bill that passed the House last June.

While the Senate bill stipulates CO2 emissions reduction of 20 by 2020, The House of Representatives' bill mandates for a 17 percent reduction..

The Senate bill has a price cap (hence the term "cap-and-trade") containing a provision to increase efforts to prevent the price for carbon permits dropping below $11/ton or soaring above $28/ton. Business organization and economists warns that this will limit price volatility, which can make it trickier for companies to make investment decisions. Republicans in the House opposed the arbitrary method in which some industries would get free pollution allowances under the cap-and-trade system.

"This entire legislative disaster will increase the cost for electricity, gasoline, coal, oil, etc.," warns Baker.

"It is also a perfect example of a big-government power grab on top of the planned government takeover of health care, water, farms, and financial institutions. These politicians claim they do what they do on behalf of the American people, but it's the American people who will suffer," said Baker.

An Environmental Protection Agency study released by Senator Boxer claims that while there are differences between the Senate and House bills, they are so small that the economic costs "would be similar" in the case of either bill. It said the cost would add between $80 to $111 a year to households energy bills as a result of higher prices.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the household cost of the bill would be $175 a year per household.

However, some industry-cited studies have put the cost much higher, some claiming possible added costs of as much as $3,000 per year per household.

President Barack Obama and administration officials are on the record as backing the Senate bill especially its provision to to slash greenhouse gas emissions and boost investment in renewable energy.

Obama's Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, stated in his testimony before Senator Boxer's committee that a cap on carbon emissions will help drive investment decisions toward clean energy technologies.

"A cap on carbon will give the energy industry the long-term direction and the certainty it needs to make appropriate technology and capital investment decisions," Chu said in a press statement.

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But opponents of this legislation have deep reservations about both the Senate and House bills. They have said -- and continue to say -- that caps on emissions will amount to a tax on struggling industries and the costs to corporations will be passed on to consumers through higher prices.

Selected Earlier Stories

1 - Sarah Foster: Climate Bill Spells 'Skyrocketing' Energy Rates, Unemployment, Less Freedom. July 14, 2009
2 - Marc Morano: Moonwalkers Defy Al Gore's Claim. July 11, 2009
3 - Devvy Kidd: Cap-and-Trade Rape Passed ? What Must be Done Next. June 29, 2009
4 - William Hunt: Control and Loss of Freedom ? Ultimate Goal of the Global Warming Lobby. June 1, 2009
5 - Tom DeWeese: What If There is No Man-Made Global Warming? Mar. 2, 2009
6 - Devvy Kidd: Solution to Global Warming and Disappearing Polar Bears. June 5, 2008
7 - Michael Coffman: Scientists Disclaim Role of CO2 in Global Warming. Mar. 8, 2008
8 - Michael Coffman: Global Warming or Global Governance? Aug. 13, 2007
9 - William Hunt: What Environmentalists Don't Want You to Know. Mar. 14, 2007
10 - William Hunt: The Nonsense of Global Warming. Jan. 22, 2007

More Reading / Resources

1 - Sen. John Kerry: S. 1733: Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009
2 - Rep. Henry Waxman: H.R. 2454 and H.R. 2998: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009
3 - Heritage Foundation: Cap-and-Trade/Global Warming Bill Page
4 - Marc Morano’s website:

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"This entire legislative disaster will increase the cost for electricity, gasoline, coal, oil, etc.,"