The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Energy bill - as St George eyes dragons in London, it's dirty pool as usual on the Hill
There's the old joke about the guy who tells his buds proudly that he makes the big decisions in his house - sending combat forces to Vietnam, the level of income tax, etc - and leave the small things to his wife - where they should live, which school the kids should go to...
So, while Bush is telling an eager London audience he's going to save to world for democracy , the poker visors are on back home: the conference report on HR 6, the Energy Policy Act of 2003, has been agreed by the House. It's crammed with the best breaks that money can buy - MTBE is causing a stir. It even repeals (§223) the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935.
(Today's Note has links.)
Can 60 senators be found to break the (threatened) filibuster? Strangely, I hear the hallowed corridors of the Russell Building ringing from every office with the sound of sonatas for Jewish piano...
Sen Tom Daschle of South Dakota has, it seems, decided to support to bill, and oppose a filibuster.
South Dakota is a major producer of corn-based ethanol. The bill calls for doubling ethanol production to 5 billion gallons a year by 2012.
As for the MTBE protection racket - well, the folk affected don't vote in South Dakota, and he can safely invite them to swivel.
[After ages of fruitless search, I at last trace the provision - it's §1502 of the conference report (PDF) version of HR 6. I think. Why in God's name the gentlemen (and I use the expression loosely) of the press couldn't have provided this information, I know not. Mentioning bill numbers and section numbers is labouring work, it seems, beneath their dignity.]
UPDATE (November 22)
Guzzling George's pork roast got skewered! (Well, for the moment, anyhow.)
Oh, cynic that I was - earlier this week - to suppose that senators would succumb to the power of the chequebook and pass the cloture resolution on HR 6. But, Jefferson Smith-style, the White Hats held on long enough for the Black Hats to falter.
My guess is - my interest doesn't extend to researching the point - that it was a combination of luck and an incorrect whip count on the part of Dr Frist and friends.
On the coincidence between big GOP contributors and big beneficiaries from the bill, WaPo kindly marks our card - names are named.
On the face of it, the House insistence on the MTBE immunity as the price for the ethanol giveaways is the big problem. But - play-by-plays based on actual knowledge are amply available elsewhere...
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