The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday marked up and passed H. R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, by a 34 to 19 vote. All 31 Republicans on the committee supported Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) bill. They were joined by three Democrats—Representatives John Barrow (D-Ga.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), and Mike Ross (D-Ark.).
The mark-up started on Monday afternoon with opening statements from members of the committee and then lasted most of Tuesday. A number of amendments offered by Democrats were variations on the theme that the Congress accepts that global warming science is settled and that it’s a crisis. All these amendments were defeated easily, but, as my CEI colleague Marlo Lewis points out, Republican supporters of the bill for the most part didn’t defend the bill very well against the Democrats’ attacks.
What the proponents should argue, but did not in committee mark-up, is that H. R. 910 is not about the science or what we should do about potential global warming. The bill simply says that the EPA cannot use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions until the Congress authorizes it to do so. Chairman Upton’s bill is designed to re-assert congressional authority to make laws (which the Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to do) and rein in an out-of-control executive branch.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said that passing the Upton bill is a priority. It is now expected that the bill could be debated on the House floor as soon as the week of 27th March. On 26th June 2009, the House Democratic leadership railroaded the mammoth Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill through the House in a single day of debate with only one Republican amendment allowed to be offered. The Republican leadership under Boehner is doing things differently, so there will probably be several days of debate with numerous amendments considered. The bill should pass easily, with almost unanimous Republican and significant Democratic support.