Posted in Global Warming, tagged Air Quality, campaign contributions, Clean Energy, Contributions, Energy, Energy and comm, house energy and commerce committee, house of representatives, jim matheson, oil, renewable energy, waxman-markey, Ways an, ways and means committee on May 25, 2009 |
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Last week we saw the Waxman Markey bill go to the Energy and Commerce committee. Watching the markup process increased my interest in the role special interest money plays in the political process.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is responsible for oversight in legislation concerning: telecommunications, energy, international commerce, public health, consumer protection and much more. The Energy Department, Health and Human Services, the Transportation Department to the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Communications Commission all fall under this committee’s jurisdiction.
Being that this is the committee that was given the responsibility of approving the Waxman Markey bill (the legislation that will determine our future energy policy); I was particularly interested in the amount of influence the energy industry had on shaping these positions of its members. The only way I could actually come close to measuring this is by looking at how much energy companies contribute to these candidates and how much their votes reflect the contributions they receive. As a control for this highly informal quasi-experiment I compared the contributions Energy and Commerce Committee members received from the energy industry the amount of contributions members of the Ways and Means Committee (which deals with taxation and welfare) received from the same industries. I limited this to congressmen who received $10,000 or more in contributions from energy companies during the 2008 election cycle.
I found that in the 65.52% of energy and commerce committee members received energy contributions above $10,000, while 58.53% of Ways and Means members received contributions above $10,000, during the 2008 campaign season. On average Energy and Commerce members received $53,972, while Ways and Means members only received $35,986, on average. The biggest recipients of both parties on the Energy and Commerce Committee got substantially more than their counterparts on Ways and Means Committee. In fact the biggest recipient on Energy and Commerce got $267,559 more than the largest recipient in Ways and Means. The Democrats in both committees received fewer contributions from these industries than the republicans, but the biggest recipient among Energy and Commerce Democrats, Louisiana’s Charlie Melancon, received $40,176 more than Charles Rangel the biggest Democrat recipient on the Ways and Means committee. It should be noted that a bigger percentage of Republicans on both committees received contributions above $10,000 in Energy Contributions. 100% of Republicans on Energy and Commerce received $10,000 or more while only 44% of Democrats did. (more…)
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Posted in Efficiency, Energy, Global Warming, Renewables, tagged climate change, Energy Efficiency, green spending measures, house of representatives, mass transit, president obama, public transportation, renewable energy, republican minority whip eric cantor, senate, speaker nancy pelosi, stimulus package, ways and means committee on January 30, 2009 |
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This week the House passed the $819 billion stimulus package, and even more exciting is that over $100 billion of the package is allocated to green spending. Amazingly, the package passed without a single Republican vote. Only 11 Democrats voted against the bill, with a final vote of 244-188.
Here is a breakdown of the green spending measure as stated in stimulus package:
- $14.6 billion to fund the expansion of public transportation. This number is actually $3 billion more than initially agreed upon, thanks to the efforts of mass transit supporters during debate.
- $37.9 billion towards energy efficiency
- $27.8 billion for renewable energy
- $20 billion in renewable-energy and energy efficiency tax credits and other financial incentives, added by the Ways and Means Committee.
So far, it seems like the House has made significant headway to ensure that green energy and climate change are important issues this session.
But wait, let’s not get our hopes up too high quite yet…we still have the get the package through the Senate. Voting on a specific package should not begin until later next week, and there is some speculation that it might not look as great as the current package. So far, appropriation to mass transit is only up to $8.2 billion. The Republican no-show was certainly intended to make a statement. The New York Times reported Republican Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to say that he hoped the zero-vote showing would pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to make changes to the bill during negotiations between the House and Senate.
President Obama issued the following statement, touching on the expected dissidence between the House and the Senate:
The plan now moves to the Senate, and I hope that we can continue to strengthen this plan before it gets to my desk. But what we can’t do is drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way. We must move swiftly and boldly to put Americans back to work, and that is exactly what this plan begins to do.
So far so good, Mr. President! I just hope that by “strengthen this plan” you mean to keep those green spending measures intact!
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