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Bill Adair
By Bill Adair July 22, 2011

Cap-and-trade a no-go in the House

One of the top items on President Obama's agenda after taking office in 2009 was to implement a federal cap-and-trade plan to cut carbon emissions in an effort to mitigate climate change. In June 2009, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a cap-and-trade bill, by a razor-thin margin, 219-212.

Yet the bill stalled in the U.S. Senate after failing to garner enough support to withstand a Republican-led filibuster. On July 22, 2010, the Democrats abandoned hope of passing emission-control legislation in the upper chamber. "In order to pass comprehensive legislation, you have to have 60 votes. To get 60 votes, you've got to have Republicans. As of today, we don't have one Republican," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at the time. The House-passed bill expired after Congress adjourned in December 2010.

In 2011, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has taken a firm stand against a cap-and-trade bill. "A full-blown fleecing of the middle class, it would raise electricity prices, increase gasoline prices, and ship American jobs to countries like China and India," wrote Republican majority leader John Boehner about the bill in June 2010. 

Instead, Republicans have pursued increasing access to domestic energy. In May 2011, the House of Representatives in a near party-line vote passed the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act. This legislation, which is still pending in the Senate, calls for stepping up offshore drilling by requiring the Interior Department to approve all permits within sixty days of receipt. 

We looked for any evidence that cap and trade had a glimmer of life. We found none. Given the Republican caucus's steadfast opposition to cap-and-trade, not to mention the difficulties in getting any such legislation through the Senate, it's unlikely that any legislation involving the regulation of carbon emissions will be passed during the 112th Congress. So the Republicans have fulfilled their pledge. We rate this Promise Kept. 

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