House Speaker Nancy Pellosi is expected to try to shove the energy bill through the House as early as today, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. Pelosi has apparently decided that she’d rather have a confrontation with the White House than attempt to meet its objections to the measure. Just yesterday, the President criticized Congress for passing another law which he’d said he’d veto, rather than working to achieve a compromise.
But, Pellosi’s had enough trouble attempting to get a compromise with her own Energy Committee Chairman, John Dingell, to risk changing anything. Earlier, she twice attempted to end-run Dingell, who represents Michigan’s Detroit congressional district. First, she attempted to set up a special subcommittee to handle this legislation, then she attempted to craft the version that would resolve differences with the Senate’s bill herself, rather then sending it to the usual conference committee, which would include Dingell. In both efforts, she failed.
Democrats apparently believe that the president will not be willing to take the political heat from vetoing the bill. As a “lame duck,” however, the President has no particular reason to care about political consequences. The last time he warned he’d veto a bill if it were not changed, he did. Pelosi was unable to muster the votes to override the veto.
At this point, however, opposition to the bill is coming from energy producers, not car makers. As a reporter for Automotive News put it, the car makers decided to surrender and then declare victory, allowing themselves to get hammered by the new fuel economy standards set to be fully implemented in 2020. Energy producers oppose a tax increase on oil and gas producers and an increase in offshore drilling royalty payments, both of which translate to higher consumer prices. They also oppose the renewable energy mandate contained in the legislation. The administration has previously stated that the president will veto a bill that contains either of the provisions.
The final legislation is expected to be 1,000 pages long and reports indicated that aides to Pellosi were still putting it together overnight. That means, of course, that none of the members of the House voting on the bill will have read it.