Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 28, 2015

February 27, 2015

A Lingering, Now Global, Epidemic

Washington Post: “A new comprehensive study published in The Lancet looks at the state of obesity around the world, and shares several grim observations, including that no country has managed to curb its obesity epidemic.”

“The United States, as is often the case when addressing obesity, is the country that stands out. There is good news in America: Children in the United States, after all, are less likely to be overweight today than they were in the mid 2000s. But there is also bad news: American kids are still far more likely to be overweight than kids in most other countries.”

Posted at 10:53 a.m.
Health

Food Waste as a Threat to the Economy

The New York Times Editorial Board writes that food waste “is now being measured as a serious threat to the global environment and economy, with an estimated one-third of all the food produced in the world left uneaten at a cost of up to $400 billion a year in waste disposal and other government costs.”

“Most of the uneaten food goes to landfills where it decomposes and produces the dangerous greenhouse gas methane at a volume that amounts to an estimated 7 percent of the total emissions contributing to the global warming threat. This puts food waste by ordinary humans in third place in methane emissions behind the busy economies of China and the United States.”

According to a report by Waste and Resources Action Program, a British antiwaste organization, “by 2030, consumer food waste will cost an estimated $600 billion a year — a 50 percent increase from current costs — unless there is a wide effort to change the trend.”

 

When is a Republican Obamacare ‘Victory’ not a Victory?

Washington Examiner: “What happens if Republicans win the Supreme Court case against Obamacare? They might end up like the dog that caught the car.”

“Next Wednesday the court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the case challenging the payment of Obamacare subsidies through the federal exchanges. If the justices bar the payment of subsidies through those exchanges, it would be both a victory for the health law’s critics and a problem for Republicans running Congress.”

“Which is why a Senate GOP working group has been meeting for months to figure out what to do should the challenge to Obamacare succeed.”

Republicans need “to find a way to continue paying subsidies to the estimated 7.5 million Americans who receive taxpayer-funded help to pay their insurance premiums through the federal Obamacare exchange.”

“The prospect of seeing those people lose their subsidies — even though some have received them for a short period of time, and even though Obamacare has imposed burdensome costs on many other Americans — is just too much for Republican lawmakers to risk.”

“Hill Republicans fear such a scenario would create huge pressure on Republican governors, who originally declined to create Obamacare exchanges in their states, to change course and set up state exchanges. The result could ultimately be an Obamacare that is even more firmly rooted and difficult to repeal than it is now — all because of a Republican ‘victory’ in court.”

Jonathan Chait points out that “Private polling by a conservative group found that ‘huge majorities’ would want Congress to restore subsidies for people who had lost them. ‘We’re worried about ads saying cancer patients are being thrown out of treatment, and Obama will be saying all Congress has to do is fix a typo,’ one staffer confesses.”

Posted at 10:36 a.m.
Health, Judiciary

Costs Could Skyrocket if Supreme Court Scraps Subsidies

The Hill: “The cost of healthcare premiums could rise as much 779 percent if the Supreme Court erases ObamaCare subsidies in a majority of states this year, according to a new study.”

“A victory for the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell would erase subsidies in 37 states using HealthCare.gov, causing premiums to spike an average of 255 percent, according to new research by the nonpartisan group Avalere Health.”

“Nine states, including Florida and North Carolina, would see premiums spike more than 300 percent. Alaska and Mississippi face the most damage, facing increases of 449 percent and 779 percent, respectively.”

Map: Avalere

Posted at 6:17 a.m.
Health

Which Recreational Drug is the Least Safe?

Christopher Ingraham: “Compared with other recreational drugs — including alcohol — marijuana may be even safer than previously thought. And researchers may be systematically underestimating risks associated with alcohol use.”

“Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that … weed [was] roughly 114 times less deadly than booze.”

Stop Bickering About Keystone. Focus on a National Energy Policy

The Washington Post Editorial Board believes all the attention focused on the construction of the Keystone pipeline is “misplaced.”

“It would have been better placed on the Capitol, where Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), without much fanfare, reintroduced a bill that would address the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions in a serious way.”

“Environmentalists should have kept their sights higher, on creating a national carbon policy that would reduce demand for dirty fuels, cutting emissions by attacking the root problem.”

“Mr. Van Hollen’s market-based version is elegant and effective. It would put a slowly declining cap on the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, requiring an 80 percent cut by 2050, and rely on basic economics, not Environmental Protection Agency commands.”

“Firms putting coal, oil or natural gas into the U.S. market would have to buy permits that account for the carbon dioxide those fuels release when burned. That is, energy companies would finally have to pay the full cost of the products they sell. “

February 26, 2015

Do We Really Want Rising Wages?

Washington Post: Whether wages rise soon “depends on how much shadow unemployment is left. That’s everyone who’s not officially ‘unemployed’—not working, but actively looking for a job—but basically is.”

“The White House, as you can see above, calculates that about half the decline is due to aging, which is in line with other estimates. Another chunk is due to the crisis. And the rest is unexplained. (That’s the blue part of the graph).”

“It’s important to remember, though, that this whole time the Boomers have still been retiring, and in greater numbers than before. So if none of the shadow unemployed were coming back, the labor force would be shrinking right now. That’s why, as economist Scott Sumner argues, the labor force participation rate really is recovering even though it’s not going up: returnees are exactly balancing out retirees. It’s not as much of a recovery as we’d like, but a flat participation rate is still one.”

“The economy’s biggest problem is that workers’ wages have fallen, in inflation-adjusted terms, for 15 years now, but we kind of don’t want that to change right now. If it did, that would mean the Great Recession had pushed millions of people into early retirement. It’d be better if more of those people came back, and then wages started rising again.”

“That’s the best way to tell that the economy still has a ways to go before it’s back to normal. Higher wages should never be bad news in any sense.”

Posted at 10:53 a.m.
Economy

Obamacare Users Are a Savvy Group

Wall Street Journal: “About 1.2 million people who bought coverage on HealthCare.gov in 2014 dropped their health plan and picked a new one through the site for 2015, the Obama administration said Wednesday.”

“The extent of people’s willingness to consider shifting to a different insurance carrier came as a surprise to federal officials, said Andy Slavitt,” principal deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who will become  acting administrator.

“This is a much more active consumer than anybody expected,” Mr. Slavitt said, noting that in other programs such as the federal employees’ health plan, or Medicare prescription drug benefits, as few as 10% of customers changed plans from year to year. ‘We wanted to create maximum choice while we had maximum consumer protection,’ he said.”

Huffington Post: “One number that didn’t seem to surprise many experts was the more than 4 million people, or about half the total using the federally run website, who were using it for the first time. The “non-group” insurance market — that is, the market for people buying coverage on their own, rather than through an employer — has always been fluid.”

Posted at 7:33 a.m.
Health

The Suprising Success of an Anti-Obamacare State

Governing: “With the end of the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, the enrollment leader is not California, the largest state in the country by population with an insurance marketplace budget of about $400 million. Instead, Florida — a state where public officials have decided against using any public dollars toward enrollment — led the way.”

“The Sunshine State boosted enrollment between last year and this year by about 600,000 people to 1.6 million total, attracting the attention of national groups focused on expanding insurance coverage. To them, the state’s own strategies, a well-coordinated and data-driven approach, made the difference.”

“The fact that Florida has more people clustered in several urban areas … is a likely factor in the state’s success. The way Florida used its federal grant support also matters a whole lot, said Jessica Kendall, who directs enrollment assistance for the national group Families USA. ‘You can find those factors in other states, but Florida was able to coordinate in ways that I haven’t seen elsewhere,’ she said.”

Posted at 6:42 a.m.
Health

Indifference About Obamacare Ruling From Many Governors

Politico: “The Supreme Court this June could cut off millions of Americans from affordable Obamacare coverage. The response from the nation’s governors gathering in Washington this week was an assortment of shrugs.”

“For some Republican governors it was a shrug of indifference. They say the onus falls on President Barack Obama and Congress to figure out what to do if the Supreme Court invalidates Affordable Care Act subsidies in their states. And if Obamacare falls apart, well, they say, good riddance.”

“For others — among them potential 2016 contenders Scott Walker of Wisconsin and John Kasich of Ohio — it’s a shrug of uncertainty.”

“Governors are largely on the sidelines of the subsidy fight — but in the center of the 2016 map. Administration allies doing Obamacare outreach worked hard to sign up millions of people in states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the classic presidential battlegrounds, and homes to some of the likely contenders.”

“Although the issue primarily affects states with Republican governors — Democrat-led states largely built their own insurance exchanges — a handful of Democratic governors with Republican legislatures are also grappling with how to respond. Some would like to build their own exchanges but need to figure out how to pay for it and how to overcome likely Republican opposition.”

Are the Poor More Charitable?

Vox: “Even during the downturn and recovery, the poorest Americans upped their charitable giving. Meanwhile, the highest-income people gave less and less, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported in October.”

“The rich also give to charity differently than the poor: compared to lower-income Americans, the rich’s charitable giving places a far lower emphasis on helping their disadvantaged peers. When the poor and rich are (figuratively and literally) moving farther apart, an empathy gap naturally opens up between the upper and lower classes — after all, if I can’t see you, I’m less likely to help you.”

“Taken together, the trends paint a disturbing picture for the future of both the American economy and philanthropy: as the rich get richer and more removed from the daily lives of the poor, the bulk of charitable giving is also likely to become further removed from the needs of the poor.”

Chronicle of Philanthropy

“If Americans’ incomes move apart and the rich and poor increasingly live apart physically — it becomes much easier for people to be blind to how people outside their own class are living. And that suggests impacts well beyond even the realm of charity — the fraying of the social fabric of the nation, as the sense of “community” people feel increasingly is limited to those in one’s own tax bracket.”

February 25, 2015

Put Aside the Obamacare Rhetoric and Examine the Facts

E.J. Dionne: “We don’t talk about it much, but by closing the ‘doughnut hole’ in the Medicare drug program, thus providing more help, the law has saved 8.2 million seniors over $11 billion since 2010. That comes to $1,407 per beneficiary. How many elderly Americans want that to go away? This is something else that “repealing Obamacare” would mean.”

“Are you a budget hawk? The slowdown in Medicare cost inflation between 2009 and 2012 saved the government $116.4 billion. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of Health and Human Services, is way too careful a wonk to claim that all this was caused by the health-care law, but largely good things have happened — including, by the way, to employment — since it passed. Its critics predicted all sorts of catastrophes. They were wrong.”

“Oh, yes, and between the Medicaid expansion and the children’s health insurance program, 10 million people gained coverage. And that’s with two of the states with the largest number of uninsured, Texas and Florida, staying out of the Medicaid expansion.”

“I am sorry to burden you with all these numbers, but the arguments you usually hear about the law are remarkably fact-free. As Burwell says, they typically focus on a single word — that would be ‘Obamacare’ — not what the law does.”

“But it’s lots more fun for opponents of Obamacare to scream ‘socialism’ and make scary and groundless predictions.”

Economic Mobility Starts at the Local Level

Vox: “Here’s one basic reason we know localities matter when it comes to social mobility: rates vary drastically from city to city in the US.”

“The US has one of the lowest intergenerational mobility rates among advanced countries, according to the OECD. But as with unemployment or earnings or any other economic statistic, mobility isn’t uniform nationwide.”

“A study by  Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard and Emmanuel Saez and Patrick Kline of Berkeley found ‘that mobility varies widely by metro area — a child growing up in America may altogether have less economic opportunity than a child born in Norway, but you’re probably far more likely to climb the income ladder if you’re born in Iowa than in Alabama, as their map of mobility shows. The below map shows the average eventual income percentile rank of kids who grow up in homes below the median income.'”

Mobility by area

“As the New York Times’ David Leonhardt wrote in his dissection of these numbers, ‘fairly poor children in Seattle — those who grew up in the 25th percentile of the national income distribution — do as well financially when they grow up as middle-class children — those who grew up at the 50th percentile — from Atlanta.'”

Ruling Against Obamacare Would Cause ‘Massive Damage’

New York Times: “The Obama administration told Congress on Tuesday that it had no plans to help low- and moderate-income people if the Supreme Court ruled against the administration and cut off health insurance subsidies for millions of Americans.”

“Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said a court decision against the administration would do ‘massive damage’ that could not be undone by executive action.”

“The implicit message is that the White House has no contingency plans, so if the court strikes down subsidies, the justices will be responsible for causing hardship to lower-income people and chaos in insurance markets around the country.”

Burwell: “Millions of people would lose their health insurance subsidies and therefore would no longer be able to afford health insurance … Second, without tax subsidies, healthy individuals would be far less likely to purchase health insurance, leaving a disproportionate number of sick individuals in the individual insurance market, which would raise the costs for everyone else.”

Posted at 8:32 a.m.
Health, Judiciary

Americans Love Their Bad Coffee

Washington Post: “With upscale artisanal coffee brewers dotting city streets across the country, America might fancy itself a nation of high-end coffee drinkers.”

“But just the opposite is true: People in this country, on the whole, are actually drinking worse coffee today than they have in the past. And the reason appears to be that they value cheapness over quality — and convenience over everything.”

“Indeed, the bulk of this country runs not on single-drip artisanal coffee, but standard, pre-ground coffee, which, by most coffee snobs’ measures, is one of coffee’s most inferior forms.”

“The rise of coffee pods, which come pre-ground, provides what is without question the most compelling evidence of the country’s desire for convenience. Sales of coffee pods have grown by a blistering 138,324 percent — yes, 138,324 percent — over the past 10 years.”

“America’s fast-growing obsession with single-serve pods is such that it has made Keurig Green Mountain, the maker of K-Cups, the best-selling brand of coffee in the United States.”

Obamacare’s Positive Effect on the Uninsured Rate Nationwide

Greg Sargent in the Washington Post: “Gallup data sent my way shows that the ACA is also lowering the uninsured rate in states that have not set up their own exchanges … This strongly suggests the federal exchange is probably working in those states to lower the uninsured rate.”

“Gallup’s topline finding, to be sure, is that the uninsured rate is dropping more sharply in states that are fully participating in Obamacare by expanding Medicaid and setting up an exchange.”

“I asked Gallup to calculate the drop in the uninsured rate in the 34 states that are on the federal marketplace or are state/federal partnership states, all of which would lose subsidies and see major disruptions if the Court rules against the ACA.”

“Among adults in all those states, Gallup says, the uninsured rate has fallen by 2.8 percentage points.”

“There’s a high probability that the changes we see in these data reflect the federal or partnership exchanges’ efforts to expand healthcare coverage … The rates of uninsured are coming down nationally. They are not coming down uniformly in all states, but even those states that have not implemented the Medicaid expansion, and have defaulted to the federal marketplace or state/federal partnerships, have seen a statistically significant decline.”

Climate Skeptics Aren’t Ignorant. They’re Partisan

Yale Law School: “Deep public divisions over climate change are unrelated to differences in how well ordinary citizens understand scientific evidence on global warming, according to a new study published by Professor Dan Kahan.”

“In fact, members of the public who score the highest on a climate-science literacy test are the most politically polarized on whether human activity is causing global temperatures to rise.”

“These were the principal findings of a Yale-led study published recently in the journal Advances in Political Psychology.”

“Kahan said the results justify reassessing at least some popular common science-communication strategies. ‘One conclusion is that it’s misguided to fixate on what percentage of the respondents in an opinion survey say they ‘believe in’ climate change,’ said Kahan. ‘What people say they believe about global warming is not a measure of how much they know, or even how worried they are about it; it is an expression of their cultural identities.’”

“According to Kahan, the study also casts doubt on the value of social-marketing campaigns that feature the message that ‘97% of climate scientists’ accept human-caused climate change.”

“‘Republicans and Democrats alike already understand that climate scientists have shown we face huge risks from global warming,’ said Kahan. ‘Just telling people that over and over — something advocacy groups have been spending millions of dollars doing for over a decade — misses the point: Positions on climate change have become symbols of whose side you are on in a cultural conflict divorced from science.’”

February 24, 2015

Scrutinizing the Funding Behind Climate Studies

The Hill: “Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wants oil and coal companies to reveal the extent to which they have funded research questioning the causes of climate change.”

“He said he will soon write to various companies, trade organizations and others involved in fossil fuels in an attempt to find whether they are paying for skeptical climate research.”

“Markey’s comments came after The New York Times reported that Willie Soon, a prolific scientist questioning the human role in climate change, received more than $1.2 million from the industry and did not consistently report that funding when publishing his research.”

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that “Richard Berman, a one-time lobbyist turned industry strategist, has zeroed in on another target: Barack Obama’s new power plant rules.”

Nicknamed “Dr. Evil” by Washington insiders, Berman “has secretly routed funding for at least 16 studies and launched at least five front groups attacking Environmental Protection Agency rules cutting carbon dioxide from power plants, the Guardian has learned.”

“The Employment Policies Institute, a tax-exempt organisation headed by Berman and operating out of his office according to tax filings, funded a series of reports by an ultra-conservative thinktank, the Beacon Hill Institute.”

“The reports, claiming the power plant rules would lead to rolling blackouts, send electricity prices skyrocketing, and devastate local economies, are being published in 16 states by a network of pro-corporate and ultra-conservative thinktanks.”

“Those familiar with Berman say he is a prime example of a new industry strategy of bypassing traditional lobbying organisations, and using thinktanks, foundations, experts, and social media to shape the public conversation and – ultimately – legislation.”

What is the Real Solution to Wage Stagnation?

Lawrence Mishel in the New York Times argues that the solution to wage stagnation – tax cuts – is not effective.

“What has hurt workers’ paychecks is not what the government takes out, but what their employers no longer put in — a dynamic that tax cuts cannot eliminate.”

“As wages continue to stagnate, it is impossible to continuously cut taxes and still pay for things like education and social programs for the growing population of older Americans.”

“The challenge is to ensure that a typical worker’s wages grow along with profits and productivity. There is no silver bullet, but the key is to make raising wages the central focus of economic policy making and to reverse decades of decisions that have undercut wage growth.”

“We need to start with monetary policy. In the next few years, the most important decisions being made about wages are those of the Federal Reserve Board as it determines the scale and pace at which it raises interest rates — and thereby slows job growth. Before raising rates, it is essential we achieve a robust recovery, with roughly 3.5 to 4 percent annual wage growth. This will ensure that wage growth matches productivity growth and that everyone can benefit from the rebounding economy.”

Mishel also recommends raising the minimum wage and protecting and expanding workers’ right to unionize and bargain collectively.

Obamacare’s Positive Impact on Uninsured Rates

Gallup: “Arkansas and Kentucky reported the sharpest reductions in their uninsured rates among adult residents since the healthcare law’s requirement to have insurance took effect at the beginning of 2014. Oregon, Washington and West Virginia round out the top five. Of the 11 states with the greatest reductions, 10 expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership. Montana, which is tied for 10th, is the only exception.”

States With Largest Reductions in Percentage Uninsured, 2013 vs. 2014

“While a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, it has clearly had an impact in reducing the uninsured rate in the U.S., which declined to its lowest point in seven years by the last quarter of 2014. This trend could be poised to continue, as 55% of Americans who remain uninsured plan to get health insurance rather than pay a fine.”

“States that have implemented two of the law’s core mechanisms — Medicaid expansion and state health exchanges — are seeing a substantially larger drop in the uninsured rate than states that did not take both of these actions. Consequently, the gap in uninsured rates that existed between these two groups in 2013 nearly doubled in 2014.”

Posted at 7:45 a.m.
Health

Economic Segregation as a Tale of Two Cities

Emily Badger in the Washington Post: “A new analysis from Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander at the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute, which identifies the most and least economically segregated metropolitan areas in the United States, makes clear that economic segregation today is heavily shaped by the choices of people at the top: ‘It is not so much the size of the gap between the rich and poor that drives segregation,’ they write, ‘as the ability of the super-wealthy to isolate and wall themselves off from the less well-to-do.'”

The index of economic segregation “takes into account how we’re divided across metro areas by income, but also by occupation and education, two other pillars of what we often think of as socioeconomic status. Among the largest metros in the country, Austin ranks as the place where wealthy, college-educated professionals and less-educated, blue-collar workers are least likely to share the same neighborhoods:”

“The Washington metro area comes in just behind these big cities, as the 26th most economically segregated in the country, out of 359 U.S. metros. Orlando, Portland, Ore., and Minneapolis, meanwhile, are the least economically segregated among the metros with at least a million people.”

“And in their data, these patterns were particularly strong in the largest metros. The larger and more densely populated a metro area, they found, the greater the economic segregation there.”

February 23, 2015

Republicans’ Obamacare Contingency Plan is MIA

Talking Points Memo: “For Republicans, winning the potentially decisive vote of Chief Justice John Roberts to gut a centerpiece of Obamacare could hinge on persuading him that the health care system won’t descend into chaos if he grants them their wish.”

“So Republican leaders are eager to convey to the chief justice, who is protective of the Supreme Court’s institutional legitimacy, that they will be ready to act. There’s virtually no chance Republicans will have a contingency plan ready by March 6, when the justices will meet privately to decide the case, and doubtful that they’ll be able to rally around a solution by the end of June, when a ruling is expected.”

“One conservative source close to the case recently explained that the Republican discussions about contingency plans were largely aimed at the chief justice. The source, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, described it as an attempt to ‘make the world safe for Roberts to overturn’ the subsidies and to ‘not let our guys look like they’re going crazy and letting the world spin into chaos.'”

“That’s easier said than done. Scratch beneath the surface and the GOP effort to devise an alternative is a mess.”

Posted at 11:30 a.m.
Health, Judiciary

Is Education the Answer to Soaring Inequality?

Paul Krugman believes that “soaring inequality isn’t about education; it’s about power.”

“What I keep seeing is people insisting that educational failings are at the root of still-weak job creation, stagnating wages and rising inequality. This sounds serious and thoughtful. But it’s actually a view very much at odds with the evidence, not to mention a way to hide from the real, unavoidably partisan debate.”

“While the education/inequality story may once have seemed plausible, it hasn’t tracked reality for a long time.”

“So what is really going on? Corporate profits have soared as a share of national income, but there is no sign of a rise in the rate of return on investment. How is that possible? Well, it’s what you would expect if rising profits reflect monopoly power rather than returns to capital.”

“As for wages and salaries, never mind college degrees — all the big gains are going to a tiny group of individuals holding strategic positions in corporate suites or astride the crossroads of finance. Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.”

Posted at 11:22 a.m.
Economy, Education, Social Issues

America’s Incarceration Problem is a Crime Against the Economy

Financial Times: “When we think of crowded US prisons, we do not usually turn to economists — still less central bankers. Yet America’s steep rate of incarceration must be high on the list of what keeps Janet Yellen up at night.”

“The labour force participation rate — the basis for calculating joblessness — has fallen to 62.8 per cent of adults today from a peak of 67.3 per in 2000.”

“What is often overlooked, however, is the starring role of the US criminal justice system. Critics of America’s willingness to hand out criminal records think of it as a social blight. It is also a crime against the economy.”

“But the taint of a criminal past affects a far larger pool of people than felons, who number about 13m. Almost one in three adult Americans, about 75m people, are included on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s criminal database. Details for roughly half those names are incomplete. To enter the FBI’s list, you need not have been convicted in a court — merely arrested at one time or another.”

“Ending the three strikes rule would have a more lasting impact. It would also make America fairer. Ms Yellen has the biggest economic bully pulpit in the world. She should spell out the hidden costs of America’s tendency to criminalise.”

Building a Wall of Red Tape to Thwart EPA’s Climate Rule

Inside Climate News: “State legislatures in coal-dependent parts of the country are taking action to delay complying with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.”

“Since the 2015 legislative session convened last month, at least a dozen states have introduced bills that effectively increase bureaucratic red tape and stall states from submitting compliance plans to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And, in some cases, the bills grant legislatures the power to veto their states’ carbon emission reduction plans.”

“The maneuvering has quickly spread well beyond the borders of coal-rich states. In Nebraska, Arizona and South Dakota, lawmakers are trying to require that their states’ environmental agencies prepare a preliminary report detailing the plans’ impact on the economy.”

“‘The overall strategy is to find ways to choke the state plan with red tape one way or the other,’ said Aliya Haq, a director in the climate-and-clear-air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. ‘These bills are all misguided in that they ironically limit the state’s options,’ she said.”

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