BCA's Washington Briefing

follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on youtube Nov. 20, 2015

The Senate this week voted 52-46 to block President Barack Obama's highest-profile climate regulation, POLITICO reported. Obama has vowed to veto the symbolic rebuke that comes less than two weeks before he is supposed to go to Paris on a major global warming deal.

The White House says Obama will veto the resolution that was designed to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing new limits on gases from power plants.

Congressional leaders say passage tells world leaders that Congress is not behind Obama's ruinous climate agenda that he'll take to the climate summit that begins Nov. 30, POLITICO reported. That's also the day that the U.S. House is expected to approve similar resolutions. Obama said he plans a unilateral global-warming deal without Congressional assent.

One resolution targets the EPA's climate rule for existing power plants, and a second focuses on the EPA's climate rule for new and modified power plants, POLITICO wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Obama is trying to advance his ideological agenda.  "Higher energy bills and lost jobs may be a mere trifle to some on the left, but it's a different story for millions of middle-class Americans in Kentucky and across our country," McConnell said.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Obama should abandon climate change antics and deal with more important issues, POLITICO reported. "So when you have a Russian airliner bombed out of the air, when you have the number of killings, deaths, the carnage in Paris, it is time for the president to move away from his focus on climate, which to me appears like a trivial pursuit," Barrasso said.


Powering Forward: How Congress Can Fuel the U.S. Energy Boom
American Electric Power Co. Inc. (Akins 11/18) "After decades of oil shocks, price spikes and a heavy reliance on imports, America has regained its position as the global energy superpower. If the U.S. embraces this comeback and builds on it, we can enjoy all the economic advantages it brings for years to come. The progress in recent years has been remarkable. Last year, the United States was the world's largest oil and gas producer, producing more oil than Saudi Arabia and more gas than Russia.

"The U.S. is at - or near - the top of the standings in renewable energy as well. For example: The United States has been the world leader in biofuels production for nearly a decade. U.S. solar power capacity is up nearly 50 percent from last year, while wind power capacity is up 9 percent. In short, the United States is not only producing more energy, it is using it more efficiently. That gives the American economy a winning edge.

"This comeback could be even more powerful, but the lack of a national game plan continues to hamper energy's contribution to U.S. economic growth. The last major rewrite of U.S. energy policy was in 2005, and no meaningful legislation has been passed since 2007. More domestic energy production, more efficient energy use, lower prices and a plan to grow: It's a way to make this all-American comeback story one for the ages."
How Obamacare Has Been a Flop for Small Businesses
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Hackbarth 11/18) "President Obama's health care law has been a headache for so many small businesses in the five years it's been law. Costly mandates and high taxes are to blame. For instance, many business owners were hopeful that the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) exchanges-when they weren't delayed--would offer affordable health plan options.

"However, Sally Pipes of the Pacific Research Institute writes that it's been a failure for small businesses:     Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office projected that a million people would enroll. Instead, 85,000 workers from 11,000 companies have done so. Those 85,000 represent less than 1 percent of all workers covered by small-group plans outside Obamacare's exchanges.

"The promise that workers would be able to choose from a range of health plans has not been kept. As for keeping premiums down, it's failed to do that too: Most haven't ventured onto the SHOP exchanges because the plans available are more expensive than the ones they already have. Thanks to ... mandates, insurers have little choice but to raise their prices."
Small Business Owners Descend on D.C. to Fight Disastrous Retirement Rule
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Harrison (11/18) - "The Department of Labor clearly didn't listen to small business owners when it proposed a new retirement rule that will drive up costs and limit retirement plan options for companies on Main Street. So to make sure their voices were heard, several small employers from around the country this week brought their message and their concerns directly to Washington.

"Led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a group of small business owners from around the country flew into the nation's capital this week to meet with lawmakers and urge them to push back against the new retirement rule (sometimes called the fiduciary rule), which was proposed earlier this year. On the Hill, the business owners sat down with several lawmakers and their staff ... to explain how their companies and their employees are being unfairly targeted by the retirement rule, which would severely limit the type of advice and the type of plans financial experts can offer to small employers.

"During an event tied to the Hill visits, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue addressed the small business owners in town and discussed the ways the retirement rule will make it harder for entrepreneurs and small employers to remain competitive. In other words, the chorus pushing back against DOL's retirement rule is growing louder, and small employers are so concerned that they're bringing their message straight to Washington. If policymakers care about small businesses like so many of them claim, it's about time they do something about it."
Report: Pay More for Less Electricity with EPA's Carbon Rules
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Hackbarth 11/12) "Expect to pay higher electricity rates because of EPA's carbon regulations. NERA Economic Consulting modeled the final version of EPA's Clean Power Plan for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. NERA economists expect an 11% to 14% increase nationwide in electricity rates between 2022 and 2033.

"The rate shock will be felt across the country: 40 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 10% or more; 17 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 20% or more; 10 states could have average retail electricity price increases of 30% or more.

"EPA acknowledges its carbon regulations will mean higher electricity rates.  According to NERA, American households will have $64 billion to $79 billion less to spend. It's simple. More money for energy means less money available for food, health care, and other necessities.

"At the same time we will be paying more for electricity, there will be less electricity to go around. NERA finds that EPA's carbon regulations will force the retirement of as much as 19% of coal-fired power generation by 2033, reducing the total electrical generating capacity of the U.S. by as much as 10%. How is this any good for an economy dependent on affordable, reliable energy?"

US Chamber of Commerce   National Association of Manufacturers
Sixth District
 U. S. Rep. Gary Palmer