Carbon Cap Going to House Floor Friday
Despite incomplete negotiations with rural Dems, House climate bill will head to the floor. Bloomberg: “The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on a proposed ‘cap-and-trade’ law to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this week, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. ‘There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday,’ Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said by e-mail … The White House said yesterday that Obama’s Cabinet members will travel across the U.S. this week to rally support for cap- and-trade legislation.”
CQ on state of negotiations: “The negotiators worked on the compensation to farmers for sequestering carbon dioxide and the share of carbon allowances allocated to rural Midwestern utilities … agreement was near on allowances for rural utilities operating coal-fired generators.” ALSO, CQ on new cost analysis from CBO: “Lobbyists following the climate talks said the CBO finding that the average annual per-household cost of the legislation would total $175 in 2020 boosts the bill’s prospects. The finding undercuts GOP efforts to paint the bill as a costly energy tax that would cost families more than $3,000 a year.”
Repower America’s Al Gore to host conference call tonight with activists nationwide to rally support for the bill.
The Hill says vote is uncertain: “it remains to be seen whether the measure has the votes to pass. Most Republicans are expected to reject the bill while some conservative Democrats, such as Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.) and Gene Taylor (Miss.), are firmly against it.”
Ryan Avent debunks conservative complaints by Megan McArdle: “Is the only way for emissions pricing to have an impact on emissions through ‘real financial pain?’ … If there are very good substitutes available, such that consumers are nearly indifferent between products, then emissions pricing involves practically no pain at all.”
AP on new support to improve fuel-efficiency: “The Energy Department is expected to announce Tuesday it is lending money to the Ford Motor Co. and [Nissan and Tesla] from a $25 billion fund to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.”
Public Plan Opposition May Be Weakening
Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reports shift from top “co-op” backer: “Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) moved sharply toward public health care Monday, saying that he could ‘absolutely’ support major parts of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s compromise proposal for a public option after closed-door negotiations … [Sen. Chuck] Schumer and other backers of a public option insist that any plan must be national in scope, have substantial funding at the beginning from the federal government, and include national purchasing power in order to negotiate lower prices. Conrad ticked off the areas of agreement that were reached Monday.”
Change.org’s Tim Foley doesn’t see the common ground: “So Conrad thinks he can reconcile a national health care co-op with state health care co-ops, perhaps in some symbiotic relationship where a state administration can somehow pool its purchasing power nationally. That’s basically gobbledy-gook, and gets us no closer to figuring out if this co-op is a single entity or a network of co-ops, or somehow both and neither simultaneously. It might make for intriguing theology, but it makes for poor health reform policy. Schumer wants a permanent board at the national level, where Conrad wants a board that yields to the participants in the co-op – again, seemingly intractable opposites. And Schumer wants $10 billion for seed money, whereas Conrad wants $3 billion. They can probably work that out, but my guess is it will have nothing to do with what’s best for the policy.”
Politico headline “Senators try to keep co-op hopes alive”: “Schumer cast serious doubt on the political viability of an alternative proposal from Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to create nonprofit insurance cooperatives … Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), ranking Republican Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Conrad each said Monday that the co-op remained under serious discussion”
CQ on timeline for the Senate health committee and new CBO estimates: “The acting chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is optimistic that the panel may be able to finish work on health care overhaul legislation this week, but Republicans aren’t so sure … The HELP Committee is waiting for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to return cost estimates on some of the draft bill’s most important elements, including an option for government-run insurance (also known as the public plan) and a mandate on employers to offer coverage. Dodd said he expected the CBO estimates by late Tuesday.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky lambastes Republicans for falsely claiming the CBO scored public plan option.
538′s Nate Silver finds correlation between special interest dollars andopposition to public plan option.
The Plum Line on new Organizing for America push: “Obama’s Political Operation To Launch Big Database Of Health Care Stories”
538′s Ed Kilgore on real bipartisanship: “if Barack Obama wants to conduct a bipartisan approach to universal health care, what does that mean in terms of the public option? Killing or watering down the public option in order to (maybe) attract the support of Sen. Chuck Grassley, and not much of anybody else in the congressional Republican ranks? Or maintaining it to appeal to rank-and-file Republicans, who favor it despite the views of their ‘leaders’ and the polarized atmosphere in Washington?” (via The Treatment)
TARP Banks Failing To Pay Us Back?
Marketwatch reports: “At least three small, cash-strapped banks have stopped paying the U.S. government dividends that they owe from taking part in the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program”
Naked Capitalism reacts: “Given that there are no formal penalties for suspending TARP dividends (save a negative reaction in the markets, which would affect stock prices and borrowing rates, there consequences of missing payments may be de minimus. While three small banks missing payments is in theory no biggie, the action does point up the disconnect between the PR of TARP (protect the taxpayer) and practice (protect the banks). Even if the result of pressure to bolster capital levels, this precedent may encourage others to follow.”
FT on developments in derivatives regulation: “US regulators said on Monday that they had agreed to carve up the oversight for derivatives as part of the Obama administration’s financial reform. However, dealers in the traditionally opaque market still face uncertainty. Mary Schapiro, who chairs the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Gary Gensler, Commodity Futures Trading Commission chairman, presented a united front at a Senate hearing after weeks of behind-the-scenes talks. Derivatives related to equities and debt, including credit default swaps, should be regulated by the SEC, while the CFTC should watch those linked to commodities, they told the Senate banking committee Other issues remain unclear, such as who regulates some highly specialised products, whether lawmakers will force all over-the-counter derivatives on to exchanges, and how much more capital and disclosure will be enforced by law.”
Bloomberg on whether Fed chair will be reappointed in January: “Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will defend his unprecedented actions to prevent a financial collapse as debate on whether he should be reappointed begins. Bernanke, whose term expires Jan. 31, faces lawmakers at a hearing this week on steps to aid Bank of America Corp.’s takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. as Congress increasingly questions the Fed’s interventions. The session comes after a two-day meeting on monetary policy that starts today.”
Terrance Heath contributed to the making of this Breakfast