Does the Climate Change Bill Have a Chance of Passing?

Yes, say columnists. But it isn't going to be easy.

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Americans are growing more skeptical of global warming, and the already-dim prospects of passing the ambitious Kerry-Boxer climate change bill may be fading. While Congress was preoccupied with health care reform and angry town hall debates, groups opposed to climate change had plenty of time to organize against it. Now, columnists say the bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, and pundits worry that even some Democrats may be wavering. How bad does it look for the climate change bill? Five predictions.

  • Almost No Hope  The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin says that without winning some Republican votes, supporters of climate change can kiss their legislation goodbye. "With Democrats deeply divided on the issue, unless some Republican lawmakers risk the backlash for signing on to the legislation, there is almost no hope for passage."
  • Bill's Prospects Look Better Than They Did  The Climate Progress blog thinks The Post gets it wrong:
"This isn’t to say Senate passage will be easy, but I think it is now likely, and, it is certainly far more likely than it was two months ago.  That’s what makes the lead story in today’s Washington Post so flawed. It opens: 'With Democrats deeply divided on the issue, unless some Republican lawmakers risk the backlash for signing on to the legislation, there is almost no hope for passage.' Uhh, yeah, well, it now looks like quite a few GOP lawmakers are willing to risk that backlash."
  • The Time To Pass the Bill Is Now  The National Journal's Margaret Kriz Hobson says the "window is quickly closing for Senate action on climate legislation this year." While the Democrats are still "at least 15 votes short of the 60 necessary to avert a filibuster," Hobson reports that it's likely the bill will be rewritten to attract more support anyway. "Insiders predict that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will completely rewrite the Kerry-Boxer bill to try to gain the votes he needs," Hobson writes.
  • With Bipartisan Support, Bill Could Succeed  At The Washington Monthly, Steve Benen doesn't think it's quite as hopeless as The Post thinks it is, especially because bipartisan support looks entirely possible. "The Post's report notes that proponents of the legislation will need some Republicans to break ranks," Benen writes. "That's true, but it's also not implausible. Eight House GOP lawmakers voted for the energy reform measure in July, and in the Senate, advocates have already brought one high-profile conservative Republican -- South Carolina's Lindsey Graham -- on board."
  • Sorry, But Republican Support Doesn't Look Likely  Keith Johnson of The Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog doesn't think Republican senators are being swayed by the sweeteners the Democrats are offering, like the inclusion of nuclear energy in the bill. And he says Republicans are threatening to filibuster the bill if it isn't rewritten. "The climate bill faces a tough week in the Senate, as Republicans have yet to voice much support despite 'tepid' nuclear-energy proposals being floated, in the WaPo. Until there’s a complete economic analysis of the bill, the GOP plans to boycott tomorrow’s markup."
  • The Bill Is On Life Support  The conservative Stop the ACLU blog is giddy. "I think we can firmly place this in the category of “good news for a Monday," they write. Stop the ACLU thinks the bill is dead in the water. "Democrats have been whining about “clean energy” for years. France uses a majority of nuclear energy. Why can’t we? Nuclear energy would seem a slam dunk. But, this whole charade is not about “going green,” but about control of countries, economies, and private citizens."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.