And now that the bill has been scaled back by Democrats, passed the Senate and poised to clear the House next week? Democrats are embracing the legislation as one of the top accomplishments of the "new direction" Congress.
As Politico reported earlier this week, the Democratic strategy on stalled legislation is to cave in on big ticket items, then take credit for what passes.
According to House Democratic talking points provided to Politico, the new majority is going to tout success in forcing a significant increase in corporate average fuel economy standards. Indeed, Democrats have pushed through the first increase in CAFE standards in three decades, something that did not occur under the GOP Congress.
The talking points are silent on the two big items that were removed _ a tax package that would have repealed tax breaks for big oil companies, as well as a renewable energy measure that would have forced utility companies to derive 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources.
"After years of inaction from Washington Republicans on one of our most urgent problems, the energy legislation congressional Democrats will send to the White House reduces global warming, alleviates our dependence on foreign sources of oil, and shows the difference a Democratic Congress is making," according to a Democratic memo being circulated among lawmakers.
Top Republicans, not surprisingly, had a different take. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said Thursday that the "House bill couldn’t pass the Senate and wouldn’t be signed into law. So we fixed it."