The Green New Deal Could Launch Republican Climate Solutions

The attention surrounding the Green New Deal rollout last week seemed to underscore the entrenched partisanship of addressing climate change: progressive Democrats demanded a quick drawdown from fossil fuels while top Republicans, including President Trump, dismissed their plan as a “socialist” joke.

But behind the scenes, conservative energy policy experts say that, perhaps counterintuitively, the Green New Deal actually offers a new opportunity for Republicans to present their own solutions to climate change.

By shifting the conversation to the left, the Green New Deal has given conservative lawmakers an opening to present centrist policy proposals without looking like they are giving Democrats a political win. At the same time, progressive rhetoric surrounding the issue has contributed to a sense of urgency in the public dialogue, encouraging influential corporate lobbyists, who support moderate solutions to address climate change but want to avoid policies that include heavy regulations, to act proactively. Ultimately, Congressional Republicans’ reaction to the Green New Deal may offer a glimmer of hope that a legislative climate solution will pass a divided Congress in coming years.

“The Green New Deal gives Republicans and conservatives space so that they can maneuver and pivot, so that they can point to a solution that they can support,” says former Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican who has led efforts for a carbon tax.

That maneuvering may be necessary for the political survival of at least some Republicans. Nearly 3 in 4 Americans, including a majority of Republicans, now agree that climate change is happening, according to a December poll from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. “This is an opportunity to articulate a vision,” says Heather Reams, executive director of Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions.

The policy solution that could actually make a dent in U.S. carbon emissions while earning Republican support is some version of a carbon tax, which would require major companies to pay to emit carbon dioxide. The government could then use that new revenue stream to fund anything from infrastructure projects to new tax cuts.

While broad-based Republican support for such a proposal has been slow to build, the idea has won the endorsement of both leading conservative economists and large corporations, many of which have powerful constituencies in Congress. Both ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips have lobbied in favor of a proposed carbon tax known as the Baker-Shultz plan, after former GOP Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz. …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


President Trump’s National Emergency Sets Him Up for Another Fight. He’s Fine With That

Congress gave President Donald Trump funding to build just 55 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but he believes he’s found a way to stretch it into 234 miles.

In a rambling, 50-minute speech Friday in the White House Rose Garden, Trump declared a national emergency—a move that may allow him to access billions in federal funding without receiving Congressional approval.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency was widely seen by both Democrats and many Republicans as a last-ditch “nuclear option” that will likely spark multiple legal challenges and fundamentally shake the balance of power in the federal government. If the President’s decision stands, future presidents of both parties will be able to invoke a national emergency to avoid Congress’s primary constitutional check on unilateral executive action: the power of the purse.

Trump acknowledged in the Rose Garden speech Friday that he will likely have to defend his decision to exercise presidential authority in this way all the way to the Supreme Court. But, he said, he felt compelled after Congress sent him a spending bill that included only a fraction of the money he wanted for the construction of a “big, beautiful wall,” his signature campaign promise. “We are going to do it one way or another. We have to do it,” Trump said of building a wall. “We are talking about an invasion of our country,” he added, predicting that even if a legal challenge went to the Supreme Court, he’d ultimately win.

Almost immediately after the speech, top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, decried Trump’s decision as “unlawful,” and described it as an unprecedented use of presidential authority. Past U.S. presidents have declared national emergencies to address wars or foreign crises, not to redirect federal funds after being stymied by Congress.

Trump downplayed claims that his decision is unprecedented. Since 1976, Presidents have declared national emergencies 58 times. He also denied that he was trying to sidestep a second politically damaging shutdown just weeks after a standoff over funding the President’s proposed border wall shuttered the government for 35 days and briefly dented his approval ratings. “I didn’t need to do it for the election,” Trump said, responding to speculation that he’s motivated to deliver on the wall in the run up to the 2020 campaign. “I just wanted to get it done faster.”

Trump will use a combination of …read more

Source:: Time – Politics


Former Massachusetts Governor Says He’ll Challenge President Trump in GOP Primary

(BEDFORD, N.H.) — William Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts who two years ago ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket, has become the first Republican to announce a challenge to President Donald Trump in the 2020 primaries.

Fiscally conservative but socially liberal, the 73-year-old Weld ran on the Libertarian party ticket with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. But he re-registered as a Republican last month, and on Friday in New Hampshire said he has created a presidential exploratory committee.

Weld said Trump’s priorities are skewed toward promoting himself and is “simply too unstable” to carry out the duties of his job.

Weld resigned as governor during his second term after being nominated as ambassador to Mexico.

…read more

Source:: Time – Politics