This announcement came after months of lobbying by bill co-sponsors John Kerry (D - MA) and Joe Lieberman (I – CO.) The bill began with co-sponsorship from Republican Lindsey Graham (R- SC), but his support was quickly withdrawn after he managed to water the bill down substantially.
The bill seemed doomed from the start, as little Congressional support could be found for the initiative. However, both American citizens and US business groups stood behind the bill because they recognized the positive effects that it could have on both the environment and the economy. Unfortunately that outside support did not translate into support among elected officials.
Former Vice President Al Gore made a prediction to Guardian reporter Eric Pooley last December: “If the Senate defeats the legislation or waters it down to a point where it is not even worth having a bill, that is an event horizon beyond which it is difficult to see.”
Gore continued, “It may mean there is a fundamental flaw in the international political approach, but I'm not sure there is a good alternative. The reality is so dire that a new plan would have to emerge — but just now I can't imagine what it would be.”
With Democrats facing a very tough election cycle this year, and polls showing that it is likely they could lose their majorities in one or both Houses of Congress, it is unlikely that a meaningful climate bill will come out of Washington any time soon.
Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to give their support for a bill that could potentially raise taxes on businesses who fund their campaigns, and Democrats have been unwilling to support the bill under the false belief that the American people don’t support it.
There is plenty of blame to go around – no one group really stood firmly behind the legislation, and that helped lead to its death. Without a strong leader capable of attracting followers, we might be faced with the “event horizon” that Gore predicted in December.
Image credit: Obama-Biden Transition Project via Flickr
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