Waxman Has The Votes
“Henry Waxman has had just about enough … [he] is giving [Republicans] until the end of Thursday to keep playing around, he told the Huffington Post” before moving to a final committe vote on the clean energy and climate protection bill. CQ reports the same.
Al Gore is actively lobbying for the bill reports Politico.
“Preventing windfalls for polluters but preserving prices — Waxman-Markey gets it right with its allocations to regulated utilities,” reports Peter S. Fox-Penner and Marc Chupka on Climate Progress
Michael Livermore in TNR holds out hope for 100% auction of pollution permits: “While not perfect, the bill is still a transformational step … [But if] the Senate does become deadlocked, another option might be to start fresh with a principled position of 100 percent auctions and build political support around that, rather than trying to appease every special interest group.”
Treehugger’s Daniel Kessler, “Republicans Misrepresent Cost of Climate Bill:” ” The EPA … analyzed ACES, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill, and said the bill would cost households less than $150 a year.”
“The [Senate] Energy and Natural Resources Committee is tentatively scheduled to mark up draft language that would require that 15 percent of the nation’s power come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal … If the committee approves the measure Thursday, it would represent a major breakthrough over Democratic dissent. It also would add momentum to efforts in the House Energy and Commerce Committee to approve its renewable-power mandate this week, as part of a broader energy and climate change bill … But [Sen. Jeff] Bingaman said Wednesday that he is still uncertain whether he has enough votes for approval. If he does not feel secure in the vote count by Thursday morning, he said he will abandon efforts to move the policy through his committee.”: CQ
HuffPost’s Jeff Muskus reports Rep. Charlie Rangel insists Ways and Means cmte will review climate bill after Energy cmte is done, but health care will come first. Also notes: “Waxman (D-Calif.) was quick to rule out any chance of seeing the bill put to the full House before July, and declined to comment on a full vote before the Congressional recess in August”
Similar threat from Agricultural cmte, reports The Hill: “[Rep. Colin] Peterson earlier this week met with the 26 Democrats on his panel and emerged with a ‘virtually unanimous’ agreement that his committee members would stand with him in opposition to a climate change bill that didn’t adequately address the concerns of the agriculture industry … Peterson wants a full markup to alter what he and other committee Democrats think are inadequate provisions on everything from fuel standards to renewable energy definitions to regulations governing the trading of carbon derivatives created through a cap-and-trade system, all of which have been written into the Energy and Commerce bill.”
Health Care Debate Churns
Change.org’s Tim Foley reports on disunity within the private health lobby:: “Today, Health Care for America NOW, joined by Senator Chuck Schumer … issued a report on how completely non-competitive the private insurance industry is in nearly every market in the U.S., how that monopoly ties directly to the higher costs of both insurance premiums and health care in general … As you would expect, AHIP issued a response within a few hours. As you wouldn’t expect, they immediately turn around and say, ‘It’s all the providers’ fault!’ … So HCAN hits AHIP, and AHIP turns around and hits the American Hospital Association?”
HCAN’s Jason Rosenbaum shoots down “trigger” proposal: “… this so-called ‘trigger’ compromise, which would trigger a public health insurance option if certain conditions weren’t met might make sense if those conditions haven’t been met yet. But they have … Skyrocketing prices? Already there. No choice or competition? Already there. Denying care? Already there … proponents of a trigger are in effect saying, ‘Wait! The health care crisis needs to get worse…’”
NYT rounds up formal opposition for various revenue raising proposals to fund health care reform.
Politico on GOP recycling the McCain health care plan: “Senate and House Republicans offered a health care reform bill … taxing health care benefits for the first time and turn that revenue back to individuals through tax credits to purchase their own insurance … the Democratic National Committee was quick to criticize the Republican proposal, calling it a rehash of ideas rejected last November.” Though Ezra Klein says it’s a little better than that: “… The minimum benefit package is too stingy … But it’s still a step forward for the Republican Party. It’s an admission that individuals can’t go it alone. That the state has a large and important regulatory role to play.”
GoozNews reports “Comparative Effectiveness in PhRMA’s Cross-Hairs:” “Who’s going to determine the research plan for the three agencies now involved in comparative effectiveness research? The drug industry wants a seat at the table … Giving special interest groups a veto-power over what comparative research gets done will create a politicized environment where the agencies sponsoring the research will never get actionable information on critical questions.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volksy gets behind a “booze tax”
The Treatment’s Jonathan Cohn likes President Obama’s emails: “Why do I remain relatively optimistic that health reform will pass this year? An e-mail just distribued to President Obama’s supporters from the campaign is one reason … There was nothing like this in 1993-94: Key interest groups sat out the fight until it was too late; former President Clinton had no grassroots army to deploy. This time will be different.”
Dude, Where’s My Recovery?
“The economy could begin to pull out of the recession later this year but a full recovery could take as long as six years, according to a forecast issued today by the Federal Reserve.”: W. Post
“All 10 stress-tested banks ordered to raise capital by the federal government are well on their way to plugging their combined $75 billion capital hole,” reports WSJ
Consumer Watchdog’s Jamie Court approves of the credit card bill: “…the legislation does away with the most insidious bait-and-switches in the industry, where the fineprint of the agreement is used against the cardholders to suddenly jack up their interest rates with no notice”
Harvey Rosenfield says it falls short: “There is no cap on credit card interest rates … Companies can raise interest rates on future purchases at any time, so long as they give the cardholder 45 days notice …”
Financial regulation turf battle. USA Today: “The chief of the Securities and Exchange Commission is opposing a proposal to move some of the SEC’s oversight tasks into a new financial watchdog agency aimed at protecting consumers.”
“The rapidly deteriorating financial health of the federal agency that guarantees 44 million Americans’ pensions is raising alarms in Congress, where key lawmakers are demanding tougher rules to insure vigilant oversight of its multibillion-dollar investment portfolio. The recession is forcing into bankruptcy an increasing number of companies with underfunded pension plans, leaving the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. with billions of dollars more to pay out in pension checks to retirees in the future. Its long-term deficit tripled in the past six months to a startling $33.5 billion. The PBGC says it will be able to meet its obligations for many years to come. Still, it is monitoring weak companies with underfunded employer-sponsored pension plans in all sectors of the slumping economy, including auto, retail, financial services and health care.”: AP
EFCA Push This Weekend
“The AFL-CIO is using the Memorial Day recess to ramp up its push for the Employee Free Choice Act, and the events scheduled, many of them candlelight vigils, target key moderate Dems and Repubs: Sens. Evan Bayh (R-IN); Arlen Specter (D-PA); Mary Landrieu (D-LA); Blanche Lincoln (D-AR); Olympia Snowe (R-ME); Susan Collins (R-ME); and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).”: Hotline on Call
“A landmark study examining workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain shows that the problems the Employee Free Choice Act would address are getting worse. “No Holds Barred: The Intensification of Employer Opposition to Organizing,” authored by Kate Bronfenbrenner, the director of Labor Education Research at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Relations, documents a disturbing increase in corporate tactics to interfere with, block and delay workers’ attempts to form unions. Workers who want to form a union all too frequently are subject to harassment, mandatory meetings, threats and even illegal firings.”: AFL-CIO blog.
American Prospect’s Jake Blumgart questions if the unemployed will be organized to pressure the political system.
W. Post profiles GM bondholders resisting a deal to avoid bankruptcy.
CQ reports on resistance to Panama trade deal: “In a letter to Obama, Sen. Carl Levin, D‑Mich., and Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D‑Texas, said the Panamanian government should have to sign a tax information exchange agreement with the United States and pass legislation changing Panamanian law to ‘allow for sufficient transparency and access to financial and corporate information.’”
W. Post knee-jerk questions whether consumers will be happy with new cars as we shift to a fuel-efficient economy.
“Just when you thought George Will’s pouty, ill-informed tirade against new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was going to stand unchallenged, here comes Rep. Earl Blumenauer [who] released a statement this morning that dares the conservative pundit to come to Portland for a debate on sustainable urban planning and transportation policy.”: Streetsblog’s Elana Schor
Terrance Heath contributed to the making of this Breakfast