Despite Presidential Push, Congress Still Cool On Tackling Climate Change
Not a priority for the Democratic Senate, and a nonstarter in the Republican House. Lacking support from Congress, the president will have to go it alone.
posted on February 4, 2013 at 10:59pm EST
WASHINGTON — During his inaugural address last month, President Barack Obama vowed firmly and explicitly to make tackling climate change a top priority in his second term.
But if he does, it will likely be without the help of Congress.
Interviews with a range of Congressional sources revealed little appetite on Capitol Hill for serious action on the issue. In the House, many members of the Republican majority don't even agree with scientists on the root causes of climate change. And in the Democrat-controlled Senate, there is scant incentive to act on such a politically dicey issue — particularly when a host of moderate Democrats will face reelection battles during the 2014 cycle.
A bipartisan consensus has emerged that the only progress on climate change in the next two years will come directly from the White House, where Obama will have to act unilaterally via executive orders and the Environmental Protection Agency — circumventing the legislative process entirely.
"The president hasn't ever done anything on this issue for a good reason: Senate Democrats want to deal with it about as much as they want to poke themselves repeatedly in the eye with a No. 2 pencil," one House Republican aide mused.