Not too long ago, POLITICO published an article pondering the disappearance of the House Republicans’ efforts to “repeal and replace” health care reform. As reporter Jennifer Haberkorn eloquently described the state of affairs:
“When they took control of the House, Republicans could barely stop talking about their plans to “repeal and replace” the health care reform law.
“Six months later, they hardly talk publicly about those plans at all. And they’re nowhere close to “replacing” the law.”
What on earth could be more important than wiping away the legislation that epitomizes socialism, that creates death panels, and embodies government overstepping its bounds and interfering with freedom? What happened to killing Obamacare? The climate of repeal or “kill the bill” has, in fact, been replaced—not with another health care law, but rather with efforts to repeal any and everything remotely related to the word “climate.”
That’s right. This Congress, we have seen legislation to:
- Invalidate the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act (Recall Mass. v. EPA, which upheld the right to regulate GHGs under the CAA.)
- Overturn a Bush Administration decision to phase out of incandescent light bulbs
- Stop EPA from issuing the boiler MCAT rule (which would help moderate the emissions of twenty hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) like mercury)
- Stop EPA from issuing its long overdue and judicially mandated ozone standards
Cut funding for DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program: The FY 12 Energy and Water Appropriations bill appropriates $1.3 billion for EERE, 29% below the dismal FY 11 level of $1.8 billion and 59% below the President’s ask of $3.2 billion. This all from the FY 10 funding level of $2.2 billion.
In total, we have seen EPA targeted by 42 different votes, DOE with 24 votes, and Department of the Interior with 20. Certainly impressive given the Energy and Commerce Committee (the Committee with primary, but not exclusive, oversight of environmental issues) has taken 20 full committee votes this year. Keep in mind that this is the same Committee with primary jurisdiction over health care issues.
Most recently, we have seen further slaughtering of the EPA through the FY 12 Interior-Environment Appropriations bill. This legislation contains 39 anti-environment riders and continues slashing funds for any and everything climate, particularly EPA.
In contrast, House Republicans haven’t held a floor vote on a bill to repeal, delay, defund, or even tweak the law for ten weeks now.
Last I checked the 2010 election returns were not a referendum to stop protecting our environment, our air, and our water. Yet, Republicans have changed their focus and gone after even the most fundamental of environmental programs, including NOAA’s weather service and the Army Corps of Engineers global warming mitigation planning. This after the United States has experienced eight severe weather events this year—from flooding in the southeast and midwest to tornadoes wrecking havoc on the south and midwest. By severe, I mean events totaling over $1 billion in damages. And, we have hardly made our way into hurricane season!
The problem here is that there isn’t even any effort to replace these cuts with anything better. This is simply slash and burn, and without our consent. One could speculate as to why. Share your ideas and thoughts here.