June 21, 2010 | Commentary on Energy and Environment
President Barack Obama last week used his first Oval Office address as an opportunity to promote the House-passed Global Warming bill. Andrew Malcolm hit the nail on the head in the Los Angeles Times with this summary of Obama’s message: “There’s a pipe spewing a gazillion gobs of oil into the gulf, so let’s build more windmills.”
The Waxman-Markey bill passed the House last year on a 219-212 vote. The Senate is expected to take a run at the Kerry-Lieberman bill later this summer. With the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico unfolding before our eyes, Congress is expected to pass some legislation dealing with the crisis and conservatives worry that the spill will be used to pass some form of legislation that imposes higher energy prices on all Americans.
The President spent a good portion of his speech blaming the prior administration (surprise, surprise) and pushing for the House-passed bill. Obama talked about taking advantage of the crisis:
“Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation—workers and entrepreneurs, scientists and citizens, the public and private sectors. When I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill—a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.”
The President nominated Judge Robert Chatigny to be a justice on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s his most controversial nominee so far, because of Chatigny’s ethically questionable actions during a death penalty case in Connecticut. The Senate Judiciary Committee has already sent this nomination to the full Senate for consideration.
Chatigny presided over a trial for serial killer Michael Ross, who was convicted and scheduled for execution for killing eight women. Ross wanted to be executed, yet Judge Chatigny took extraordinary measures to prevent that from happening. According to CNS News, Chatigny reportedly told Ross’ attorney that Ross “never should have been convicted” and “never should have been sentenced to death.” Chatigny went as far as to threaten the attorney’s license to practice law. Ross was eventually executed (after numerous hearings) in May of 2005.
Conservatives argue that courts need to avoid substituting judges’ opinions for the letter of the law. As a judicial activist, Judge Chatigny holds the wrong judicial philosophy for a court just one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.
No Budget, No Appropriations
Remember when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) promised to change the way business is conducted in Congress? One thing that hasn’t changed: The dithering Congress hasn’t passed a budget or even a single appropriations bill. The Senate Budget Committee passed the Budget Resolution for Fiscal 2010 on April 22, yet that’s the last action Congress has taken on a budget.
The purpose of a Budget Resolution is to set funding levels for the appropriations process. Congress usually passes some form of a budget and there have been rumblings in the House that it may skirt the traditional transparent process in favor of a “Deeming Resolution” to be placed in unrelated legislation to set funding levels for the next fiscal year.
Considering that the federal debt just breached the $13 trillion level and that congressional spending is out of control, lawmakers really need to be on a budget. Conservatives want somebody in Washington to put the brakes on this spending spree, before it speeds the federal government into a ditch of debt.
Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in Human Events