President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden early this afternoon to say that even as the Senate moves to pass a scaled back version of the energy bill, he’s going to push for broader climate change legislation that includes a carbon cap and trade bill, as has already been passed by the House.
Some in Washington are speculating that the strategy is for the Senate to pass a limited bill and then AFTER the election, but before the new Congress – minus many Dems – is seated in January, the House and Senate will meet in a conference, change the Senate bill to look like the House bill, and roll it through the Senate.
That’s what “lame duck” sessions are for. Everyone’s ass is out of a political sling. Some who would have to take a risky vote have either been defeated or, in the case of the Senate, can wait six years to face voters again, and unpopular legislation gets passed. That’s why Obama demanded that the Senate act initially now.
But he also wants to show House members, some of whom are from relatively conservative districts and walked the plank to pass cap and trade, that their sacrifice was not for nothing.
On the other hand, my colleague Glenn Thrush of POLITICO, who covers the White House now but knows Congress intricately, notes that though Democrats who have been beaten would be free to vote as they want, many would be in snarly moods and in no mood to please Speaker Pelosi. And some may be plotting comebacks in their conservative districts, and won’t be eager to make the same mistake twice.
Obama also in his remarks pretended to want to help small business, as he did just recently, said the Senate should approve more of his appointments, and, critically, called for swift passage of supplemental Afghan war funding.
Obama and Congressional leaders want to ram the war spending bill through before it gets fully pissed on by Wikileaks and the John Kerry’s of the world start pontificating about their grave concerns, etc.