He had them at ‘no’

I’d blogged Friday about how Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, was the only Bay Area House member to oppose the Waxman-Markey climate change/clean energy bill, which passed the House on a 219-212 vote.

This morning, I received a news release from the the National Association of Manufacturers commending Stark for his vote, and claiming the bill will hinder our nation’s ability to compete in global commerce.

“Congressman Stark’s opposition to this misguided legislation was a true act of leadership and political courage,” NAM President John Engler said in the release. “By opposing this bill he is putting his constituents and the nation first.

“As the U.S. continues to struggle with great economic uncertainty, we need sensible and responsible climate change policies that encourage competitiveness without putting undue burden on businesses and ultimately consumers. We firmly cannot allow government to choose winners and losers if we’re going to compete in the global economy.”

But as I’d noted Friday, Stark didn’t oppose the bill because he felt it would hinder business — he opposed it because he felt it should’ve gone much further. Stark in January introduced H.R. 594, the Save Our Climate Act, under which carbon-based fuels — coal, petroleum and natural gas — all would be taxed at a rate of $10 per ton of carbon content. The tax would increase by $10 per ton of carbon every year, making it less affordable to burn fossil fuels as time goes on; when the United States reaches the International Panel on Climate Change’s standard of reducing CO2 emissions by 80 percent, the tax would be frozen. (The Congressional Budget Office thinks this is a good idea, by the way.)

Surely that’s not something NAM wants, right?

“To us a ‘no’ vote is a ‘no’ vote regardless of the reason. We do not support his carbon-tax bill,” NAM spokesman Hank Cox told me later this morning.

So for these strange bedfellows, it was the briefest of honeymoons…

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Ten years from now people will look back on this whole global warming kerfuffle and wonder:

    “What were they thinking?”

  • Arne Simonsen

    Elwood, you’re right, but the Al Gore “Global Warming” crowd are doing it so that they can impose new taxes and fees to support their liberal agenda!

  • Mike F

    Stark will probably use the NAM commendation in his next election, should Cap and Trade become law and a huge tax nightmare on the citizens and the economy. Those that voted for it suffer the consequences, but Stark will show in some mailer how he was ahead of everyone in knowing it was a bad bill.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    The NAM nod will enrage Pete’s numerous ex-Yippie supporters. The NAM opposed the bill because it thinks the bill went too far; Pete thinks it didn’t go far enough! But undoubtedly, if he needs to, Pete will spin the vote as required for his next race.