Saturday, June 27, 2009

How LDS Members Of The U.S. House Of Representatives Voted On H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy And Security Act Of 2009 (Cap-And-Trade)

One additional function I will take on is to track and report how LDS members of Congress vote on high-profile issues. It's not really rocket science, since most LDS members of Congress are Republican, and tend to vote the party line. Even Democrat Jim Matheson occasionally crosses over and votes the Republican way.

And on June 25th, 2009, H.R. 2454, entitled "The American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009", came up for a vote. You can read a summary of its provisions HERE. After some last minute arm-twisting by Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, the bill passed 219-212.

The results of the roll call vote are published HERE. Here's how LDS members of the House voted:

-- Jeff Flake (R-AZ): Abstained
-- Wally Herger (R-CA): No
-- Howard McKeon (R-CA): No
-- Mike Simpson (R-ID): No
-- Dean Heller (R-NV): No
-- Rob Bishop (R-UT): No
-- Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): No
-- Jim Matheson (D-UT): No
-- Eni Faleomavaega (non-voting delegate from American Samoa): Not entitled to vote

Rep. Flake was one of only three House members to abstain, so if all had voted No, it would not have changed the final outcome. Rep. Flake had a family obligation precluding his presence for the vote, but confirms he would have voted against it.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act calls for the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. It would establish a limited number of pollution permits, more than 70 percent of which would initially be given away free to utilities, manufacturers, state governments and others, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The permits could then be traded or sold. But this cap-and-trade idea is considered a scam by many, because of the possibility that speculators could inflate and drain a "bubble" just like they did with the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble.

House Democratic leaders say the bill would create 1.7 million new jobs and save 240 million barrels of oil by 2020. It would require in most cases that states get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and the sun by then.

But instead of celebrating their victory, the Sierra Club reacted in a very spiteful fashion. “This should be a huge wake-up call,” Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said in an interview. “We should not have had to have a bill this weak to pass by this narrow a margin.” Perhaps they should learn some magnaminity.

But opponents remained critical. Republicans and many business groups, including American Farm Bureau, sought to drum up opposition to the bill by saying it would impose a “national energy tax” that would eliminate jobs, not create them. “This is the biggest job-killing bill that has ever been on the floor of the House of Representatives,” said Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio, who spoke against the measure for about an hour. He said the U.S. should increase drilling of oil and gas while working to create alternative sources of energy.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett described the bill as “hugely flawed” before the vote. A tax on carbon dioxide would be more straightforward than the bill’s so-called cap-and-trade plan, which seeks to “hide the ball” and targets production instead of consumption, Hackett said. The legislation would lead to higher energy prices, he said.

The next stop for this legislation is the U.S. Senate, where it will be taken up this fall and where it is expected to be watered down further to facilitate the possibility of passage. It would not likely pass in the Senate in its present form.

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