Dem squabbling threatens climate change bill

When hundreds of billions of dollars are on the table, you can bet that Congressmen who represent various interests are going to make sure that their ox won't be gored.

This attitude has led to a surprising opposition to the Waxman-Markey climate change bill on the part of Democratic chairmen of other committees who want their chance to put their own goodies into the bill.

Jared Allen of The Hill has the inside dope:

More and more Democrats are ready to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi's climate change bill, according to a congressional committee chairman who opposes his leader.

The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that he's at an impasse with the lead sponsor of a climate change bill strongly backed by Pelosi (D-Calif.), and that his list of Democratic members who would join him in voting against the measure is growing rather than shrinking.

"We're stuck," Peterson said regarding a clash he's had with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) over a number of issues in the bill. "And there's a lot of issues that haven't even come up yet."

The two powerful chairmen are butting heads at the staff level, despite a deadline set by Pelosi for all committee action to be completed by June 19.

But that may be the least of the trouble.

Peterson has warned that the bill put together by Waxman and Energy and Environment subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) will fail if agriculture-related provisions aren't altered, and he's said he has as many as 45 votes on his side. That number of Democratic defections would certainly doom the prospects of passing the bill in the House.

The Ag chairman says "skepticism toward the bill is growing, not shrinking." 

The farming states, coal states, steel states - all have representatives who are unhappy over provisions in the bill. What usually happens to bills like this is that they are loaded up with so many special interest provisions that by the time they are voted on, they have zero impact on the problem they were trying to solve.

I suspect this bill won't be any different.