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"Climate Change" or "Immigration Reform"? Either Way, We Lose.

Written by James Heiser on April 27 2010.

Apparently it would be the “choice” between the legislative process which turns millions of illegal aliens into Democratic voters (presumably in time to save the Leader in 2012), or further destroying the American economy through expenses inflicted as part of “climate” bill. Thus far, it would appear that the “climate bill” may be the “choice” on the Hill — if the pesky debt doesn’t get in the way.

As the New York Times reported on April 23,

The Senate Budget Committee yesterday hamstrung the chamber's ability to move climate change legislation through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process on its way to passing a budget resolution that also freezes spending for most domestic programs....

Even if the budget resolution does clear the chamber, it continues to appear highly unlikely that its reconciliation portion will be used as a vehicle to pass sweeping climate and energy legislation.

The committee easily approved, 16-6, an amendment from ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) that would establish a point of order against using reconciliation for any new program whose spending exceeds 20 percent of the amount of the reconciliation instruction to the committee. In essence, that would mean that any far-reaching legislative program -- including climate legislation -- would likely violate the provision.

"One would hope that you're not going to put energy in reconciliation, but if you are it would definitely trip this point of order," Gregg said.

Buried near the end of the article, one learns a bit more about just how high relevant portions of the federal budget have already soared:

The budget document breaks down federal spending by "function" rather than by the appropriations bills or federal agencies. A committee breakdown shows that all energy- and environment-related functions will stay flat or even dip over the next three years.

The budget would provide $6.9 billion in discretionary spending for the energy function in fiscal 2011 -- up from $5.3 billion this year -- but dips to $6.3 billion in 2012 and $6.2 billion in 2013.

The natural resources function would receive $36.8 billion in discretionary spending in 2011 -- up $300 million from this year -- and $36.7 billion in 2012 and $35.4 billion in 2013. Agriculture will receive $6.6 billion in fiscal 2011 -- a $1.4 billion drop from this year -- followed by $6.4 billion in 2012 and $6.2 billion in 2013.

Transportation would also drop to $33.8 billion in 2011 -- down $2 billion from this year -- but will see slight upticks in the following years.

Despite the freezes, the budget also carries with it increases in several target energy development programs.

The resolution would add $500 million to the White House's Energy Department 2011 spending request of $28.4 billion to support additional funding for the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program, state energy efficiency grant programs and development of low carbon coal technologies.

And, mind you, this is how they spend when the nation is broke and faces an economic crisis with no end in sight.

But Senators Graham (R–SC) Lieberman (I—CT) and Kerry (D–MA), the legislative “Curly, Moe and Larry” of cap and trade, are worried that the ruling party’s instinctive urge for self-preservation through “immigration reform” might sweep their own agenda aside. The three senators are lobbying hard to press through a vote on “cap and trade” while there is still a large enough voting block to inflict such a “change” on the American people. But with lesser matters (you know, things such as a potential Supreme Court nominee, the budget deficit, the financial crisis) stealing the Senate limelight already, the push to transform millions of individuals who have willfully and flagrantly violated the laws of this nation into the latest block of Democratic voters has the potential to burn up legislative timetable on a scale not unlike that which was afforded to the collectivization of the health care system.

The meter is running, and November 2 is getting nearer every day.

According to TheHill.com, Sen. Kerry knows that there is a very serious possibility that November will eliminate the capacity for inflicting “cap and trade” on the American people:

He said in a statement commemorating Earth Day that 2010 was the “last and best shot” to pass legislation in the Senate curbing greenhouse gas emissions. “We can’t afford to wait, and we’ll never have as clear a shot to reach this goal we first set out 20 years ago,” Kerry said.

Sen. Graham’s objection to taking on “immigration reform” first was more crass than that of Sen. Kerry, but similarly apocalyptic, but more vulgar:

“It destroys the ability to do something like energy and climate,” Graham told reporters in the Capitol. He called the suggestion to move on immigration first “the ultimate CYA politics” — as in “cover your a—.”

Delightful. Of course, most of the “climate change” legislative agenda could be described by its opponents in quite similar terms. And both “immigration reform” and “cap and trade” afford legislators an opportunity to fundamentally transform the nation's economy, its character, and its culture. What is an advocate of "hope and change" to do?

But never fear, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still convinced there will be time for her to have her cake and eat it, too, as pertains to “immigration reform” and “cap and trade.” Again, according to TheHill.com:

If the Senate is ready with an immigration bill, we don’t want anybody holding it up for any reason,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference. “Send it to us.”

While allowing for the possibility that immigration reform might move first, Pelosi emphasized that addressing energy security and climate change were “the flagship issues of her Speakership.”

We’ll see. As of this writing, election day is barely more than six months away. Let’s see how the calculus of ideological extremism weighs prospects for surviving November 2. Meanwhile, the nation's best interest may best be served by neither (1) "immigration reform, nor (2) "cap and trade,” but by (3) none of the above.

James HeiserRt. Rev. James Heiser has served as Pastor of Salem Lutheran Church in Malone, Texas, while maintaining his responsibilities as publisher of Repristination Press, which he established in 1993 to publish academic and popular theological books to serve the Lutheran Church.  Heiser has also served since 2005 as the Dean of Missions for The Augustana Ministerium and in 2006 was called to serve as Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (ELDoNA). An advocate of manned space exploration, Heiser serves on the Steering Committee of the Mars Society. His publications include two books; The Office of the Ministry in N. Hunnius' Epitome Credendorum (1996) and A Shining City on a Higher Hill: Christianity and the Next New World (2006), as well as dozens of journal articles and book reviews.

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