Yesterday, the Senate Democrats voted to reject Senate Resolution 26, also known as the Murkowski Resolution, against bipartisan support. The Murkowski Resolution proposed to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from acquiring unauthorized power to regulate carbon emission for one year. In a 53-47 vote, six Democrats crossed party lines to join all forty-one Republicans in support of the resolution. Though it did not pass, the close vote sends a strong message that a bipartisan coalition will fight extreme environmental legislation such as cap and trade. The long list of unpopular legislation in 2010 leaves little political capital to pass a bill so aggravating to consumers during an election year.
In defeating this bill, Democrats have ceded their law making responsibility to a group of unelected officials at the EPA with no accountability to the American public. Unfortunately, the consequences could be damaging to the economy: new regulations that force companies to alter business practices could significantly limit productivity. The EPA has unchecked power to expand their bureaucracy at the expense of the already depleted treasury. Dissent from within the agency will be suppressed, as evidenced by the treatment of Alan Carlin, who suggested that regulating greenhouse gases may not be necessary. But, the unbridled EPA insists that unrestricted authority is essential to combat global warming and they are prepared to do so at the expense of the economy.
The bipartisan support for the Murkowski Resolution demonstrates the validity of representative government. The six Democrats that voted for the resolution listened to the interests of their constituents, telling them how new EPA regulations would hurt their businesses and families. The willingness to transcend party politics represents a significant step toward stopping bad legislation. Kerry and Lieberman continue to push for cap and trade to be part of Harry Reid’s energy legislation, but Reid’s tight race for reelection may lead him to drop cap and trade in order to save his own seat. Other senators originally showing enthusiasm now realize that cap and trade may not be politically feasible. At the same time, Democrats may also understand that their near supermajority status may be quickly coming to an end as the electorate demands reform in Washington.
Hopefully all six Democratic senators who voted for the Murkowski Resolution stand prepared to defeat cap and trade. A coalition has formed, and if kept, it has the power to prevent misguided environmental legislation that will paralyze our economy. It is our job to keep the coalition together and increase its membership. Be sure to call your Senator today to tell them to oppose cap and trade.