March Madness in Congress

You can’t blame it on March or NCAA basketball, but our Congressional leaders are definitely mad, and they’re showing it this month.

Republicans Fight Science Tooth and Nail

While some of the world’s leading climate scientists have taken time out of their busy, important schedules to explain to Congress how they have confirmed that climate change is happening and is human-caused, Republicans (and even some Democrats) have said, “Mhm, sorry, we don’t care.”

It’s official.  House Republicans are deniers of science so well verified by observation and analysis that The U.S. National Academy of Sciences declared it a ‘settled fact‘ last year,” Climate Progress’ Dr. Joe Romm noted last week. The House Energy and Commerce, which has now approved an Upton-Inhofe pro-pollution bill that could “overturn the scientific finding that fossil fuel pollution is causing dangerous climate change,” had just rejected an amendment that would say that “Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency that ‘warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.’” In defense of the vote, Michael Burgess (R-TX) actually cited a completely unscientific poll of the American public — no, not climate scientists — to support his vote.

To attack the public from more sides in case this horrible bill doesn’t go through, Senator Rockefeller and Senator McConnell tried accomplishing the same societally masochistic task via another bill and an amendment to a small business bill. Dan Lashoff, Director of the NRDC’s climate center writes:

Congressional Republicans spent the day trying to legislate climate change out of existence. Not by actually doing anything to address the problem, you understand, but by overturning EPA’s scientific finding that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases endanger public health and welfare. Now Senator Rockefeller says he has a kinder, gentler approach. His proposal would not explicitly deny the problem — it would just make it impossible for the EPA to do anything about it, at least when it comes to the largest sources, such as power plants and refineries.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee today passed the Upton-Inhofe bill (H.R. 910) on a largely party line vote of 34 to 19. Pete Altman live blogged most of the markup and posted the rogues gallery of supporters. Meanwhile Senator McConnell joined the fray by offering the same bill as an amendment to an unrelated small business bill.

Senator Rockefeller claims that his bill is not as extreme as Upton-Inhofe, but it would have much the same effect, as I explained previously. My colleague David Doniger expanded on why this bill is bad for public health and West Virginia.

Michael Tomasky of the Guardian, commenting on the ridiculousness of this pro-pollution Republican herd, notes:

liberals should remember that Barack Obama isn’t the reason common-sense reforms can’t happen in this country. We have a situation in which 95% of the scientific community thinks A, and roughly two-thirds of Americans agree about A. Then we have a small but tenacious faction that has disproportionate power in Washington and that insists A is a socialistic plot. It’s that last bunch that is the real problem.

A pointed response from Skeptical Science may be even better:

Republicans have decided that they can repeal the laws of physics with the laws of the USA…. we have politicians attempting to overturn a scientific finding whose purpose is to protect public health and welfare, for purely political reasons.  This is a rather disturbing turn of events from a scientific standpoint.  We cannot disregard a scientific finding, particularly one which has major consequences for public health and welfare, just because we don’t want to believe it, or because doing so would be politically advantageous.

A couple of leading Congressmen on the other side of the aisle added sharper remarks to the conservative attack on science that is currently taking place:

“It apparently no longer matters in Congress what health experts and scientists think. All that seems to matter is what Koch Industries think,” Henry Waxman (D-CA) stated.

“Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet,” Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) said. “However, I won’t physically rise, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.” Going on in this manner, he said:

I won’t call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Instead, I’ll embody Newton’s third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America’s importation of foreign oil.

This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate. It will be a legislative Schrodinger’s cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process!

Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise.

And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair’s amendment pile.

Pro-Pollution Conservatives Torturing Logic Regarding High Gas Prices

Meanwhile, pro-pollution conservatives have also been “torturing logic” to make a false connection between Obama’s policies and higher gasoline prices, doing anything they can to put all the world’s faults on Obama.

Conservative attacks on Obama keep defying logic.  First, former Big Oil lobbyist Haley Barbour said oil prices rose because Obama’s policies cut U.S. oil productions — except production has sharply increased under Obama.  Then Sen. Inhofe (R-OIL) claimed Mideast unrest isn’t causing the price surge, a clean energy bill the Senate never voted on is.

Then Fred Upton claimed his pending bill to overturn science and block EPA curbs of greenhouse gases will “stop rising gas prices,” which Politifact debunked as “False” here. Media Matter put together an impressive list of independent experts who say it’s simply “not credible” to claim that Obama’s drilling policies caused — or even contributed to — the recent price jump.

The lastest group to torture waterboard logic in an effort to blame Obama is the pro-pollution, Koch-fueled Heritage Foundation.

Note the graph above showing U.S. field production of crude oil before and since Obama took office.

And Then, Their Lame Response to the Nuclear Catastrophe in Japan

While Japan suffers a nuclear catastrophe, these valiant protectors of Big, Old, Dirty Energy have assured us that there is nothing to learn from this incident and it should not influence nuclear policy. (Unfortunately, Obama is on board with that one as well.)

March Madness? I wish. This carries on all year long…

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Photo via The J Train

4 thoughts on “March Madness in Congress”

  1. Get a T-Shirt company involved. Print T-shirts with cartoon likenesses but real names of Republicans as belonging to the
    Perpetual Political Puppet Party. [PPPP]
    Show corporate sponsors as the puppeteers, and the politician as the puppet.
    Only paid off politicians can qualify as members of the PPPP.
    The only way to get through to adamant politicians is to ridicule them constantly.
    Part of the profit from T-shirt sales to be used to counter anti-green politicians.

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