John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Harry Reid’s Waste of Energy

Posted on March 11, 2014

One of the biggest Democratic donors, Tom Steyer

It is really extraordinary.

Imagine if Ted Cruz or John McCain or Rand Paul or Mitch McConnell decided to keep the Senate up all night because one of their biggest campaign supporters, let’s say it is the Koch brother, asked that they speak out on behalf of the coal industry.

And then, let’s imagine that McConnell was the Majority Leader and had the power to actually put legislation on the Senate floor, but decided instead to waste everybody’s time talking about coal.

That’s pretty much what Harry Reid has done on behalf of one of the biggest Democratic donors, Tom Steyer.

This is the mother of all political stunts.  And it is embarrassing.

Steyer, a billionaire from San Francisco, has demanded that the Democrats make global warming the central issue of this year’s political campaign, and Senate Democrats have fallen into line, like trained seals.

I have never seen anything like this in my 25 years of living and working in Washington, such a naked payoff to a wealthy political contributor.

But Mr. Steyer is not getting his money worth.

This is a bait and switch.

If Congressional Democrats really cared about this issue, they would go through the hard process of actually legislating.

They would find Republican co-sponsors on responsible legislation that didn’t scare the American people and didn’t kill jobs.

They would find a balanced approach to make the environment cleaner and to keep the economy growing.

I don’t know if greenhouse gasses are causing the climate to change or not.   I am a little skeptical of Al Gore on a variety of issues, but especially on global warming.

But I am also skeptical of people who think that nothing has to be done to clean up our environment.

I am a proponent of renewable energy, and I run a coalition called the Red State Renewable Alliance, because I think that renewable energy is especially important to people who live in traditionally conservative states.

There is plenty of common ground to be found on the issue of environmental protection.

Promoting renewable energy in a common-sense, pro-business way is probably the best way to move forward on the issue, because it is both pro-jobs and pro-environment.   It also makes America more energy independent, which is an additional and not trivial benefit.

Harry Reid is the Majority Leader, and he could schedule actual legislation on the Senate floor any time he wants.   He could do the hard work of legislating instead of the easy work of talking.

But he would rather talk than work.

Tom Steyer shouldn’t be satisfied with Harry Reid’s bait and switch.  This talkathon is a waste of time and energy.

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