McCONNELL LEADS TWO MORE SUCCESSFUL FILIBUSTERS AGAINST RENEWABLE ENERGY AND A WINDFALL GAS PROFITS TAX
Two pro-environment Mainers fought Susan Collins today
This morning the Senate was all set to consider HR 6049, the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act which passed the House on May 21 with a healthy bipartisan majority; 263-160. At that time thirty-five Republicans joined every Democrat (except Texas' arch-reactionary Nick Lampson) in passing the bill which would have amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation. Realizing it would have easily passed the Senate as well, Bush's chief obstructionist, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), led a disgraceful filibuster to keep the bill from being voted on. Every single Democrat, plus Lieberman and 3 Republicans voted for cloture in order to call a vote. 44 reactionary Republicans were able to prevent the vote. Many are fake moderates who portray themselves as friends of the environment and make believe they are serious about solving the energy crisis but were happy to support McConnell and Bush again. We expect die-hard anti-environmental corporatists, like Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to vote against their constituents and for the special interests. They always do. But it is somewhat less comfortable for the fake moderates to explain votes like this.
Although Olympia Snowe of Maine voted with the Democrats to shit down the filibuster, Maine's far more right-wing and far more corporate-leaning other senator, Susan Collins, was in rubber stamp mode today and went along with McConnell and the extremists. Ditto for John Sununu (R-NH) and Norm Coleman (R-MN). We called Congressman Tom Allen, who fought to pass H.R. 6049 in the House and who has been one of Congress' strongest advocates for sane conservation policies. He was disappointed that Collins joined the wingnuts on this one. But he pointed out another factor in the bill beyond conservation and energy concerns. "In killing this legislation, they blocked extension of the teacher expense deduction that saved Maine’s 17,000 teachers $3.4 million last year. Today’s roadblock killed an extension of the child tax credit for almost 38,000 Maine children, as well as investment of $18 billion in incentives for renewable energy research. This is a clear example of why we need a working majority in the U.S. Senate that puts America’s middle class first."
And this wasn't the only successful filibuster of a popular bill this morning. S-3044, the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008, sought to provide energy price relief and hold oil companies and other entities accountable for their actions with regard to high energy prices. This is commonly referred to as the Windfall Profits Tax Bill and again, McConnell and a gaggle of corrupt Republicans, fat with bribes from gas and oil companies, were able to filibuster it to death. (In this case, reactionary fake-Dem, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a recipient of gigantic oil and gas donation, joined the filibuster. She was the only Democrat who did. Olympia Snowe and a small handful of Republicans voted with the Democrats. One was Gordon Smith who is in a desperate battle with progressive Democrat Jeff Merkley to retain his seat. Recalling that Smith had voted to oppose windfall profits taxes twice in 2005, we asked Jeff why he thought Smith-- who has accepted over a quarter million dollars from oil and gas interests-- had voted with the Democrats this morning.
"Gas prices in Oregon are the 7th highest in the nation and families are feeling squeezed. For nearly eight years Smith has voted with Bush 90% of the time and has been in the pocket of big oil campaign contributors, supporting billion dollar bailouts and opposing a windfall profits tax. While Smith has fostered our dependence on foreign oil and delivered billion dollar giveaways to big oil, I championed the most aggressive climate change legislation in the nation. Now Smith is running scared, flip flopping on important issues to pretend he's a moderate."