The specifics of the bill have yet to emerge, but that hasn't stopped Ben Nelson from saying no to a climate bill containing even a utility-only cap on emissions.
Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska said Thursday he would not support a procedural vote later this month to begin debate on a climate bill that includes a cap on electric utility emissions, a declaration that underscores the tough climb that Majority Leader Harry Reid will have in trying to cobble together a 60-vote supermajority on the controversial issue.
“A carbon tax or trade piece would significantly increase the utility rates in Nebraska for businesses, agriculture and individuals,” the Nebraska Democrat told POLITICO. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate way to go. And while I’d usually vote for a motion to proceed, this is so extraordinary, that I just can’t bring myself to do that.”
It's a recent conversion for Nelson:
In 2008, Nelson voted for the motion to proceed on an economy-wide climate bill authored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), John Warner (R-Va.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). The procedural vote — 74-14 — included 32 Republicans who saw the floor debate as an opportunity to criticize Democrats for supporting a measure that would increase gasoline prices.
He also voted for cloture on a Boxer substitute amendment that would have capped greenhouse emissions and established a carbon trading system. So why the flip?
Steve Benen thinks back back to the health reform debate, when Nelson was opposed to the Republican effort to filibuster. At the time he said: If you don't like the bill, then why would you block your own opportunity to amend it? Why would you stop senators from doing the job they're elected to do -- debate, consider amendments, and take action on an issue affecting every American?" So as Steve says, what's his answer to his own question now? Why is he stopping Senators from doing the job they're elected to do?