LAS VEGAS -- Conservatives should seemingly be happy that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced earlier this week that Democrats are shelving plans to pursue a "cap and trade" energy plan. Now, however, is not the time to start trusting Democrats, conservative activists said today at the RightOnline conference.
"Harry Reid has said he removed cap and trade from the energy bill," said Phil Kerpen, policy director for Americans for Prosperity, the group that organized the conference. "Do we believe Harry Reid?"
Kerpen said Democrats would surely insert cap and trade into any energy bill, once the Senate passed a bill and the House and Senate versions were combined. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democrat who has up to this point led efforts to shape a comprehensive energy bill, did say this week he was not giving up on efforts to cap heat-trapping carbon emissions.
"It's not a big secret, they just think we're not paying attention," Kerpen said today.
Reid said Democrats were shelving a comprehensive bill in favor of a smaller plan that could win GOP support. But Kerpen said Republicans need to vote against any energy bill from this Congress.
Democrats "do not deserve the benefit of the doubt" on the issue, he said.
Kerpen added that Republicans should be wary about Democrats pushing through their legislative goals after this November's midterm elections, with lame duck Democrats who will no longer be worried about being held accountable for their votes.
"No Republican senator should vote for any policy change in the lame duck session, period," he said.
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