Washington’s recent debate over healthcare reform has been quite a back and forth, to say the least. But, if a ClimateWire expert’s report is correct, the debate’s outcome could be more than complex: it could leave “blood in the water” for climate change legislation. Ick….
In his Wednesday evening address to the nation, Obama promoted two particularly potent pieces of his legislative agenda: a healthcare reform bill and a climate bill (the “American Clean Energy and Security Act”). The climate bill passed in the House in June (albeit narrowly and with alterations so substantial one expert called the passage a “climate bill bloodbath”). The climate bill has yet to pass in the Senate.
Analysts believe, since it will be difficult for Obama to pass both bills in the House and the Senate, one bill may have to pass before the other. This, and the following factors, could put climate change legislation at risk:
Healthcare reform could be more of a priority for the public than climate change, and rejection of the healthcare bill could embolden senators to further alter the climate bill. Moreover, passing the healthcare bill is a high-stake item for Obama (the BBC suggests a failure to pass it may be seen as a “major personal defeat” by his opponents), and Obama may be unlikely to split his promoting-power between both bills. Furthermore, the Republican Party is reportedly attempting to paint the President’s overall plan as a grab for big government – a move Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (a Democrat) described as leaving “blood in the water.”
The U.S.’s passage of substantive climate change legislation is seen by many as a prerequisite for international climate change initiatives. The deadline for passing the health care bill and the climate bill are, respectively, August and September 18.