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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Chamber of Commerce’

Ford Criticized for Its Continued Membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Lobbying and rhetoric heat up as Senate Committee passes contentious climate bill. Billions of your tax dollars are at stake.

by on Nov.05, 2009

Half of U.S. electricity generation comes from coal, which emits enormous quantities of greenhouse gases.

Burning coal emits large amounts of greenhouse gases as it makes half of the U.S.'s electricity.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is calling on its membership to put pressure on William Clay Ford Jr., chairman of the Ford Motor Company, to make a public break with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and “its stance of denying the science and need for action on climate change.”

The action from the pressure group comes as the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed over the objections of Republican members the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act” this morning, setting the stage for the rest of the Senate to move forward with controversial climate change legislation.

The bill sets a short-term target of reducing green house gas emissions 20% below 2005 levels by 2020. Critics contend that to do so will wreck the economy. The act also establishes a “cap-and-trade” system to reduce U.S. greenhouse gases.

At stake are billion of dollars in credits — or taxpayer giveaways — to power and oil companies in voluntary greenhouse gas emissions trading markets or in mandatory emissions trading markets, if they are legislated.

Green News!

Green News!

Like the already passed House bill, the Senate bill requires periodic scientific assessments to ensure the program is operating effectively. Unlike the House measure, the bill would retain the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to require emission reductions from the oldest and dirtiest powerplants.


Fix the Roads, But Don’t Ask Us to Pay for It

The Highway Trust Fund is about to go broke, again.

by on Sep.03, 2009

 61,000 miles of our National Highway System are now in poor to fair condition, 25% of bridges "structurally deficient."

About 61,000 miles of our National Highway System are in poor to fair condition.

Everyone knows what happens to a car when it runs out of fuel. Nevertheless, the same cannot be said about the Highway Trust Fund, which at current funding levels will be $17 billion short of money for the 2010 fiscal year that starts next month.

Minnesota Democrat James Oberstar’s sweeping bill to reform Transportation policy and fix the bankrupt Highway Trust Fund has been blocked by the Obama Administration, so the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others, is pushing to renew the existing bill for six more years.

Virtually everyone agrees that our roads, highways and bridges need more maintenance and rebuilding, but a depressed economy and soaring budget deficits make politicians reluctant to address the problem.

In addition, the gang that lives in state along the banks of the Potomac is much better at passing out money for earmarks and pet programs, than they are at finding ways to pay for them. That’s why the Trust Fund is under funded in the first place.

The problem with renewing the existing bill is that it doesn’t contain adequate taxes to support the work required to keep roads repaired. The gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon that goes toward roads has not been raised in 15 years. And, if you’ve been driving through those years, you know what has happened to our highways. About 61,000 miles of our National Highway System are now in poor to fair condition, and 152,000 bridges – 25% — are “structurally deficient.”

Well, things could get worse. The easy political position given circumstances right now is to renew the existing law, without increasing fuel taxes.

However, the numbers do not work. An estimated $235.7 billion (FY 2010-FY 2015) will be raised, but existing transportation programs cost $326.1 billion during the same period. And this doesn’t catch up with decades of neglect.

No Potholes!

No Potholes!

The Obama Administration kicked the problem down the road as Congress recessed this summer by moving $7 billion more in funding into the Trust Fund so that it can get by for the time being.