Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Senate to vote on Obama's power grab

Tomorrow the Senate will vote on a resolution to stop an egregious power grab by the executive branch.  Chris Horner has been on the case at The Daily Caller and Big Government.  From the former:
On Thursday, the Senate will vote on S.J.Res.26, a resolution to block EPA from usurping powers never delegated to it by Congress. Failure means allowing EPA to go forward, apparently in flagrant violation of our constitutional traditions simply because too many in Congress desire, but can’t bear to take responsibility for, more of the Obama agenda.

EPA’s breathtaking Power Grab raises questions critical to our form of governance. The powers EPA has claimed for itself include staking out national policy on the contentious “climate” issue, and even amending the Clean Air Act on its own initiative and authority.

S.J.Res. 26 was originated by Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). It is co-sponsored by 40 others, mostly Republicans but including three Democrats (the math of which also tells you that three Republicans are not on board: Sens. Brown, Collins and Snowe). It seeks to exercise, for just the second time, the Congressional Review Act passed in 1996 as part of the “Contract with America”. That law allows legislators to check bureaucrats gone wild by vetoing a “major rule” within 60 days of an agency publishing it.

In this case, the rule is the Obama EPA’s effort to delegate to itself inherently legislative powers. These include Congress’s authority—wisely eschewed to date—to regulate carbon dioxide as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act, which would make EPA an economic regulatory agency despite having been caught as complicit in promoting scandalous “climate science” in the push to spectacularly expand its budget and powers.
When the White House dispatched EPA chief Lisa Jackson to the Huffington Post to slam Murkowski's resolution, Horner was quick to point out how the administration's justifications for relegating what should clearly be a legislative matter to an unelected body of bureaucrats, keep changing to suit the political flavor of the day.  From Big Government:
So. The White House sent EPA chief Lisa Jackson over to HuffPo to slam (smear?) the Murkowski resolution set to be voted on in the Senate on Thursday, which is designed to block a Power Grab by EPA and thereby to maintain our Constitution’s separation of powers.

The White House then followed this by threatening to veto the resolution if it passes.

In both cases, Team Obama tie S.J.Res. 26 to the Gulf oil spill and argue that, by blocking EPA’s claimed authority to regulate greenhouse gases, this exercise of the Congressional Review Act would cruelly block the administration’s diligent and dedicated campaign to reduce our dependence on oil and reduce the risk of such spills in the future.

Huh? Far from sounding familiar (at least, before this newest revision of the reasons for the “global warming” agenda was rolled out last week), this should sound somewhat newfangled.

In fact here we see that the “global warming” agenda — that had already morphed into a “climate change” agenda before it was an energy tax to create new jobs (because we all know that’s what tax increases do, silly) — is actually aimed at stopping oil spills. And we’ve always been at war with Eastasia, Winston.

What we have now is a pristine case study of there being no good reason for an agenda, as proved by the fact that the reason for the agenda (read: excuse) keeps changing.

In what was surely little more than an exercise in cynicism, I performed a quick search to see just how deeply embedded are these real reasons for what has for years been a “global warming” regulatory agenda. It turns out that EPA forgot to cite them as the reason for, or even related to, its “Endangerment Finding” (that the Murkowski Resolution would block).

OK. To be generous beyond a fault, let’s say they cited these real reasons one half of one time. In 52 deathless pages of background and “global warming” hysteria.

Go ahead. Perform a word-search yourself. You’ll see the following:

“warming” — 82 invocations

“temperature” — 117 invocations

“climate change” — 259 invocations

“dependence” (or “independence”; or “depend” in any relevant way) — 0

“spill” — 0

“drill” or “drilling” — 0

“oil” — 1 relevant usage, but which, well… refers to a different rulemaking altogether, as part of EPA’s lengthy discourse of the regulatory context (see very bottom of page 5 of 52).

“automobile” — see “oil”, above; the same discussion dragged “fuel economy” into the mix.

It turns out that at the time, in promoting the “Finding” that the Murkowski resolution seeks to block, the administration actually forgot to make what are now apparently its marquee arguments for the thing. At least, to listen to their keening in opposition to the measure.

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