It’s no secret there’s no love lost between Nancy Pelosi and the coal industry, but do House Democrats really want to get in the middle of a feud by taking another tough and futile vote?
More than a simple miscarriage of justice for the undeserving, this provision could very well discourage mine employees from taking on supervisory and management roles for fear of arbitrary criminal and/or civil prosecution. It’s doubtless few corporate managers would be willing to risk their freedom in the same manner. Since little involving human judgment is done perfectly, and no occupation is without risk, Miller’s bill is nothing more than a formula for shutting down the coal industry.
This bill makes it easy to speculate that hamstringing the coal industry is the goal of Miller and the House Democratic leadership, regardless of the costs.
Last summer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed the anti-coal Waxman-Markey climate bill through the House. Climate change, however, languished in the Senate, perhaps dying its final death last week when Harry ReidHarry ReidSanders and Schumer are right: Ellison for DNC chair The Hill's 12:30 Report Hopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs MORE pulled the plug on carbon caps in the upcoming Senate energy bill.
However, as the 111th Congress has proven time and again, no bill is too tough to pass so long as Speaker Pelosi can whip or cajole members into giving their support. So, while the cap-and-trade flavor of congressional jihad against the coal industry flounders in the Senate, another is ready to take its place: Miller’s bill. Both put the coal industry out of business in time — or at least give the federal government arbitrary power over its existence and operation.
As Miller’s bill goes to the House floor, Democrats will need to ask themselves a question: In an election year in which voter wrath against Speaker Pelosi’s agenda could very well cost me a seat, do I really want to take another vote that will likely be presented to constituents as yet another egregiously unfair effort to make electricity even more expensive, while destroying jobs and further derailing the economy?
If congressional intent is really to enhance mine safety in light of the Upper Big Branch tragedy, then there’s no reason to put the legislative (and punitive) cart before the investigative horse has done its work. No incumbent ever lost a seat taking that perspective.
In the choppy November waters ahead for House Democrats, how many really want to give voters yet another reason to pull the lever for someone else?
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