I wrote today about the Senate votes to limit or halt the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gases, when Sen. Bob Casey ticked off the greens by backing an amendment to delay the regulations by two years. Today, the House voted to kill any EPA carbon regulation efforts under the Clean Air Act, with 19 Democrats joining a united Republican caucus in support.
Among them were Reps. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless and Mark Critz, D-Johnstown. Altmire's position was pretty set when I wrote about this a couple weeks ago, while Critz was on the fence. The bill is a long shot in the Senate (and a no-shot for a presidential signature) but it's another sign of the anti-EPA backlash in the Congress. The argument essentially is that tough environmental regulations hurt job growth at a time of high unemployment and Congress should figure out how to deal with climate change, rather than having the administration do it by fiat. Environmentalists counter that the Clean Air Act is important and beloved, and if we wait for Congress to do something about climate change we will be living in Kevin Costner's Waterworld before there's a law.
In other scintillating U.S. House action today, Altmire crossed the aisle and was one of 15 primarily Blue Dog Democrats to vote for a Republican continuing resolution to keep the government running for one week while funding the Pentagon until Sept. 30. But the bill isn't going anywhere because the White House has threatened a veto and the Senate Democrats won't touch it. Why, you ask? Well it cuts $12 billion in one week (far more than the $2 billion per week in previous "CR's") and keeps in those policy "riders" that Dems don't like, such as defunding Planned Parenthood. Even some troop flag-waving couldn't get Dems on board. So now it looks like the government will be shut down and our troops won't get paychecks while they're fighting our wars. Congress still gets paid, though, to bicker like 4-year-olds.