President Obama has been very made clear that his top domestic priorities are health care and global warming. We all know what happened on health care. Now the date is set for the key Senate showdown on global warming: June 10. That’s when the Senate will vote on a resolution introduced by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (S.J. Res. 26) that would overturn the EPA’s global warming regulations. It’s not subject to filibuster. There is no place for weak-kneed senators to hide. In just two weeks we’ll know where every member of the Senate stands.
As I’ve previously discussed here in the Fox Forum and documented on www.ObamaChart.com, the Obama administration is not waiting for Congress to enact a national cap-and-trade program to move ahead with its global warming agenda.
Under the watchful eye of White House Climate czar Carol Browner (who originally developed the legal theory of using the 1970 Clean Air Act as a global warming law, bypassing Congress) the EPA is moving forward on a staggering regulatory power grab that includes about 18,000 pages of appendices and will eventually regulate nearly every aspect of the U.S. economy.
The EPA is out to regulate cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, planes, trains, ships, boats, tractors, mining equipment, RVs, lawn mowers, fork lifts… you get the idea. And there is no control technology for greenhouse gases, so the EPA would require complete redesigns and operational changes.
While there are some promising legal challenges to the EPA regulations being pursued, we can’t count on the courts. After all it was a 5-to-4 2007 Supreme Court decision in “Massachusetts v. EPA” that paved the way for EPA’s global warming mischief.
The Democrats have a huge majority in the Senate, but many Democrats will not walk the party line on this one. To start, three Democrats are co-sponsors of Murkowski’s S. J. Res. 26: Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), and Mary Landrieu (La.).
And at least one more key Democrat, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, is already feeling enormous pressure on this vote from back home. On Tuesday <a href="http://wowktv.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=80405">Tea Party activists rallied</a> outside one of Rockefeller’s state offices with the simple, commonsense argument that EPA regulations are an illegitimate, backdoor way to get cap-and-trade without a vote in Congress.
Senator Rockefeller responded to the protest by saying: “We cannot wait any longer to send the message that relying on EPA is the wrong way to go. The fate of our entire economy, our manufacturing industries and our workers should not be in the hands of EPA.”
That’s exactly right. But Rockefeller has so far refused to support the Murkowski Resolution, instead insisting that he will offer his own amendment to deal with the issue. But his amendment would only be a two-year delay and only for stationary sources -- hardly a permanent solution that disarms the EPA. Even more significantly, Rockefeller has only eight co-sponsors versus Murkowski’s 41, and Rockefeller has no commitment from Harry Reid to even allow a vote on his amendment.
The only vote that will happen -- for sure -- is the vote on June 10. And it will be a clean, clear, up-or-down vote on the Senate floor—a yes to stop the EPA power grab, or a no to look the other way and let it happen.
If activists around the country -- who nearly stopped Obamacare -- can renew that energy for next week’s Memorial Day recess, confront senators on the issue, rally, educate neighbors, and write to Congress, it’s possible the 51 votes needed to defeat this move by Obama’s White House will be within reach. Perhaps the three Republicans who are not co-sponsors (Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine) will eventually vote yes, and there may be enough Democrats who don’t want to outsource our economic future to EPA bureaucrats to get to 51 votes.
Whether it passes or not, it will be a very important vote to see where each senator stands on allowing the EPA to regulate the U.S. economy in the name of global warming. Will your senator vote to say rogue agencies can short-circuit the legitimate legislative process, disregard public opinion, and impose their own constraints on the U.S. economy? Or will your senator take responsibility as the legitimate legislative branch of government and rein in the EPA by voting yes on S.J. Res. 26? We’ll find out June 10.
Phil Kerpen is vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, which fights the EPA power grab at www.RegulationReality.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Facebook, and through www.PhilKerpen.com.
Fox Forum is on Twitter. Follow us @fxnopinion.