It seems like a story out of “The Onion”–but it’s just CQ reporting very matter-of-factly on the Senate’s progress (or “regress”) today on the budget resolution (emphasis and some commentary added):
Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., offered competing amendments addressing the impact any climate change legislation may have on electricity and other energy costs.
Republicans charge that Obama’s cap-and-trade plan would lead to higher consumer electric and fuel bills [as it's intended to do to reduce the consumption of carbon-intensive fuels] making it, in essence, a tax.
Administration officials acknowledge the plan would cause energy bills to rise [such that the policy would achieve its intended effect] and say that is why they propose dedicating $537 billion of the revenues raised by the sale of pollution credits to a middle-class tax cut [which would mitigate the burden on middle-class households without removing the proper price signals].
Thune offered an amendment stating that any energy legislation moving later this year should achieve its goals “without increasing gasoline or energy prices.” [i.e., should achieve its goals without being structured so as to achieve its goals!]
Boxer, chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, offered what she called a “supplement” that essentially allowed a variety of ways to offset price increases that might occur because of climate change legislation. Her amendment was adopted by a largely party-line vote of 54-43.
The Thune amendment was then adopted by 89-8.
“Senator Thune’s amendment doesn’t go far enough,” Boxer said. “We believe that revenues from a climate bill, should we pass one, and I certainly hope we will, would be used to offset any kind of an increase in electricity and gasoline prices [again, removing any kind of effectiveness in the climate policy], and we would have the revenues from a cap-and-trade system to do just that.”
Thune said Boxer’s amendment was an attempt to give Democrats political cover.
“Don’t believe for a minute” that the tax rebates in Boxer’s proposal “would go back to consumers,” he said.
That’s so sad that it’s funny–or so funny that it’s sad…