July 27, 2010

THE LEADERSHIP HAS SAFE SEATS:

Among House Democrats in Rust Belt, a sense of abandonment over energy bill (Paul Kane and Shailagh Murray, 7/27/10, Washington Post)

[Democratic Rep. John] Boccieri and dozens of other House Democrats along the Rust Belt are not at all happy with the way things have turned out. The White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had assured reluctant members that the Senate would take up the measure. Although Senate passage wasn't a sure thing, House Democrats hoped to go back home to voters with a great story to tell -- about reducing dependence on foreign oil, slowing climate change and creating jobs.

That didn't happen. Senate leaders, sensing political danger, repeatedly put off energy legislation, and the White House didn't lean on them very hard to make it a priority. In the aftermath of the gulf oil spill, the Senate is set to take up a stripped-down bill next week, but the controversial carbon-emissions cap is conspicuously missing.

This has left some House Democrats feeling badly served by their leaders. Although lawmakers are reluctant to say so publicly, their aides and campaign advisers privately complain that the speaker and the president left Democrats exposed on an unpopular issue that has little hope of being signed into law.

Some Democrats liken the situation to that of the 1993 "Btu" tax. The House passed the tax, but the Senate never took it up. Many House Democrats felt hung out on a limb in the 1994 elections, when Republicans reclaimed control of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 27, 2010 5:11 AM
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