Boxer’s Stimulus Saga Rolls On

Boxer_Caltrans.jpgBoxer no stranger to new freeways

Environmental groups in DC are guardedly optimistic that yesterday’s barrage of phone calls and emails to Senator Boxer and company urging them not to write a $50 billion blank check for the highway lobby has not been in vain. 

Boxer did not introduce the feared highway amendment yesterday and word from her staff is that if the $50 billion is proposed, it will not be exclusive to highways.  Senator James Inhofe’s communications director Marc Morano struck a similar tune, saying the money will go to "highways, transit," and water infrastructure projects."

In lieu of an amendment with specifics, Boxer outlined six proposals for global warming legislation, which would include:

  • Reducing emissions to levels guided by science to avoid dangerous global warming.
  • Setting short and long term emissions targets that are certain
    and enforceable, with periodic review of the climate science and
    adjustments to targets and policies as necessary to meet emissions
    reduction targets.
  • Ensuring that state and local entities continue pioneering efforts to address global warming.

On-again off-again EPW committee pal Inhofe pounced on Boxer’s proposal for reducing greenhouse gases, saying it "will impose a long-term multi-trillion dollar energy tax on
families and workers.  These principles offer nothing more than a punt on all of
the difficult issues that Americans expect to be honestly debated." 

Boxer said she was confident she had the votes for her global warming plan, though no Republican committee members attended her news conference.  Given her confidence, I’m curious whether a deal has been struck with Inhofe to give Boxer the votes she needs on her plan if she gives him most of the highway money he has demanded?  As a result both sides can sing their party standards and save face while getting plenty of face time.

Flickr photo: Barbara Boxer

  • This does sound like very successful lobbying. Boxer not only refrained from introducing the freeway amendment to the stimulus package; she also said she was planning to go ahead with major global warming legislation this year. It seems that she realized that the freeway amendment offended her environmental constituency and was trying to make amends.

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