Crank of the Week - June 29, 2009 - The U.S. House of Representatives

The US House of Representatives has barely managed to pass a sweeping climate change bill that had the bill's supporters bringing at least one house member out of rehab to ensure passage. The 1,200 page bill—formally known as the “American Clean Energy and Security Act”—has been called “the worst piece of legislation in the history of the House.” The massive bill would affect all aspects of the U.S. economy: the way electricity is generated, how homes and offices are designed, how foreign trade is conducted and how much Americans pay to drive cars and to heat their homes.

Despite support from President Obama and Speaker Pilosey, the House climate bill's supporters struggled to push the legislation through in the Democratically controlled lower chamber, where approval is generally achieved on straight party-line votes. Barely squeaking by on a 219-212 vote Friday evening—a vote that saw 8 Republicans voting for the bill and 44 Democrats abandoning their party leadership—the passage of this bill has many Americans praying for a dose of sanity in the Senate.

If passed by the Senate and signed by Obama the new law would mandate that 15% of the nation's electricity come from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020. While this prospect is being cheered by renewable energy enthusiasts, the bills critics are legion: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, groups that represent airlines, oil producers and mining companies all opposed the bill. There were warnings that, by raising the cost of energy, consumer costs will rise across the entire US economy. “It will affect every aspect of the American economy, harming our ability to compete in the world and provide secure and affordable energy to American consumers and businesses,” the National Mining Association said in a statement.

Send in the clowns

There are provisions covering everything from energy-efficient loan standards for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the definition of “renewable biomass” to the establishment of “green” banking centers. “Is there anything we're not regulating in this bill?” said House Minority Leader John Boehner. Even more troubling, the House bill has a provision that would impose tariffs on goods imported from countries that don't match U.S. carbon dioxide restrictions. This is a bit of backdoor protectionism aimed squarely at China and India that several business and political leaders fear could provoke a trade war.

On top of all the political rancor, eco-groups led by Green Peace International and Friends of the Earth opposed the legislation. Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett today released a statement calling the proposed climate legislation “weak” and insufficient to address the severity of the problem at hand. Greenpeace called on Congress to reject the bill and “begin immediate and urgent work on legislation that treats seriously the dire threat of climate change.”

What it all boils down to is this: the bill will not stop climate change, it will damage the American economy and probably cause problems abroad. This is simply an example of self-serving politicians attempting to claim the green mantle to promote their own careers. So, for once again proving you are the world's leading source of hot air, this Crank of the Week is for you: the US House of Representatives.

Inanity in action.