CLIMATE:

House derails GOP bid to block lame-duck action

House lawmakers today derailed a Republican bid to block Democrats from pushing through controversial climate legislation during a lame-duck session.

On a 236-163 procedural vote, the House quashed a resolution from Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) pledging that Congress would not convene between November and January except in the case of a national emergency.

Price and other GOP lawmakers are looking to fend off Democrats' efforts to pass major legislation including a sweeping climate and energy bill after the November election. Top White House officials and Democratic leaders have suggested that climate legislation that stalled in the Senate this year may have a better shot once political pressure on Capitol Hill has dissipated.

"Democrats are trying to avoid accountability by delaying the passage of a national energy tax and other unpopular policies until after Election Day," Price said in a statement. "Some might think that is a good way to override the will of the public, but it is a terrible way to govern. A lame duck session should not be used as a post-election blitz to impose liberal programs that Americans do not support."

President Obama's top energy and climate adviser Carol Browner said Sunday that the administration is not conceding defeat on getting a climate bill this year and that it could "potentially" be passed during a lame-duck session (Greenwire, Aug. 9).

But with Republicans expected to pick up seats in November, the already grim prospects for passing major climate legislation could get even worse.

Still, Price and other GOP lawmakers are expected to continue efforts to handcuff action on climate and other controversial issues during a post-election session.

In the Senate, Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns last month introduced an amendment to a stalled small-business package aimed at blocking Democrats from adding cap and trade to a House-Senate conference report during a lame-duck session (Greenwire, July 27).

Johanns expressed concerns that Democratic lawmakers would attempt to circumvent Senate procedure by adding carbon caps to a conference report during a lame-duck session."The plan to do cap and trade in a lame duck is premised on senators and House members being free and liberated from the tethers of the American people," he said on the Senate floor. "That's extraordinary, and it's deeply troubling."

Click here to read Price's resolution.