Congress: Back-Room Deals and Inexorable Slides to the Right

A deal has been nearly reached on the climate change bill:

House Democratic leaders late last night released a revamped, 1,201-page energy and global warming bill (pdf), clearing the way for floor debate Friday even though it remains uncertain if they will have the votes to pass it.

Collin Peterson, and his Amalgamated Brotherhood of Climate Change Isn't Our Damn Problem, appears to have won just about all of his desired concessions:

The House bill posted on the Rules Committee Web site has grown from the 946-page version adopted last month in the Energy and Commerce Committee. Sources on and off Capitol Hill said the bulk of the changes largely reflect requests from the eight other committees that also had jurisdiction over the bill, including the Ways and Means Committee and Science and Technology Committee.

While environmental groups and climate change activists have repeatedly vowed that the bill needs to be strengthened, no amendments will be allowed on the floor debate that will actually allow the bill to be strengthened. Instead, the backroom deal means that coal and agribusiness get their concessions, but there isn't even a chance for green groups to try and make the bill better. Everything will be thrown together in a single manager's amendment:

Sponsors expect to draft a manager's amendment later this week that reflects additional deals reached among lawmakers, according to several House Democratic aides.

And if you want to know what the final language of the bill is before it is voted on, good luck with that.


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