Republicans on the run
There's a presidential debate or two coming up. I'm told and the skim wants to help you be prepared for it. They've got all the candidates resumes, and their priorities for twenty twenty in one place that place is the skim dot com slash debate. But guess what? Just a little twist. There's two M'S and skim s k I m dot com slash debate. Lauren dick. You cover politics for Oregon public broadcasting. Something very strange is happening in your state capitol. Right now, could you tell us what exactly that is? He yes. So the Oregon Senate Republicans here have actually fled, our state, and our apparently in Idaho, or Montana, or other states in order to avoid a vote on a pretty sweeping climate change Bill. It's a cap and trade Bill, the Republicans here, there in the super minority, and it's really one of the only maneuvers that they have to gain leverage over the majority party, the state constitution here requires that twenty members be present to have a quorum on the Senate floor in order for them to do business, there, eighteen Democrats, so they need to Republican members to show up in order to vote on bills. This Bill has long been a big democratic priority. Republicans have voiced concerns about it for a long time. They felt like negotiations were not. Well, so rather than vote on it, they have fled the state while Republicans on the run. Yes. We have avoided being within the state boundaries where the governor can exercise at her perogatives. The state troopers to call us back to the state capital. Meanwhile, Oregon's democratic governor Kate Brown has authorized Oregon state. Police troopers to search for those now missing Republicans and bring them back. I think this is really important. We negotiated in good faith to bring Senate Republicans back, and it was my expectation that they keep their word. I'm keeping mine. All right. Let's walk through the chronology or how the heck did this happen? When did this fight over a cap and trade Bill that resulted in Republicans, literally fleeing the state of Oregon, get started? This has been a big democratic priority for a long time. A lot of Democrats campaigned on getting this done, then they had the super majority in both chambers, so they thought you know, it was definitely going to happen future. Generations will judge us not on the fact of global climate change. But what we've done to tackle it and literally, these young people's futures and their children's futures hang in the balance. It's critically important that we take action and that we take action. Now, Republicans have been trying to make changes to the cap and trade Bill from really the start of the legislative session. Really before the session, started fundamentally though, they just do not want this Bill to pass. This is a carbon tax and it's the. The most inefficient complicated and expensive way to address reduction in carbon dioxide, emissions until the Bill made it to the house floor earlier this month, and then, as it moved through the Senate got closer to the Senate floor negotiations broke down over there and the Republicans fled for Idaho. What's the plan with fleeing the state? I mean that, that can't really be like a long term plan Kennett. No, I mean, I think that idea is that the are outside of the Oregon state troopers jurisdiction so they can't be as easily compelled to come back to the Senate has anyone heard from these Republicans since they left town last week. Yes, they are talking doing the work of my constituents by voiding saddling all oregonians with this horrid piece of legislation, one, Senate Republican sent me a photo of a sunset over a lake cabin in Idaho, just to show that, you know, there are no hurry. They're in this lovely spot. There was a great Wall Street Journal story that came out yesterday talking about how they've bought burner phones because they think that the Oregon state police could track them using their cell phones that they are. Texting they're actually all over. I mean, the Senate Republican who's in the cabin Sydney pictures of the nice lake that he's looking at a bunch of different people he was on FOX and friends. So you are you're on the run right now, kind of, although it kinda hiding in plain sight, right, people know what state you're in for the most part, but how long do you have to stay out of the state? Well, the session constitutionally ends June thirtieth at midnight. Okay. And so unless we can have an agreement, that's how long we'll be out. So, yeah, they are getting a lot of attention, and the Senate Republican leader didn't wanna give one reporter. He spoke to his location. But his the battery on his cellphone died, so he called using another Senate Republicans phone. But everybody knew where that Senate Republican was. So he sort of unwittingly gave away his location. So they're just really trying to figure out how to be on the run. Is it legal what they're doing? I mean abdicating their responsibilities, and they're getting paid to do it. The Senate Democrats are finding them five hundred dollars a day for every day that they're out of state in. They're trying to also ensure that they don't get paid. In the meantime, what's does that mean? Nothing can happen in Oregon legislatively. Yeah, you go to the Senate floor in the mornings every morning. They're gaveling in the Senate. Democrats are gaveling to a half empty room because we have eighteen. Knows we need to more and. I don't think there's two more in the building. How do people in Oregon feel about this? It's gotta be kind of weird. Is this the first actually Republicans walked out earlier in may? They staged a four day walkout before that was very unusual that Republicans would walk out, or that any party would walk out in June two thousand one House Democrats, including Kate Brown, staged, a five day walkout over a redistricting measure Democrats were in the minority, and they walked out for about a week, but yes, it's an unusual tactic or going are very split like the state in general. We have a real urban rural divide here. There are a lot of rural organs who are supporting this protesters gathered outside the state capitol, again, Sunday opposing a sweeping cap and trade Bill. Well, supporting Senate Republicans on day four of the walkout ripped open third away, because it's useless. It's just real people real families as people that work hard every day and try and support their community and their families and. We just want to show our support. They're worried that it would raise fuel prices the worry that they would have to upgrade equipment that would cost a lot of money and they're just worried that it will put them out of work. I've gotten sort of testy there. I mean, if Republicans would rather flee the state, then actually talked to their democratic peers and come to some sort of consensus. I wonder how, how volatile the politics have become yet. The rhetoric has really changed. We've seen recently. Well, I'm quotable does what I told the superintendent, send bachelors and come heavily-armed. I'm not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It's just that simple. And this Saturday there was actually a credible threat from the militia, and the Oregon state police recommended that the capital be closed down. What's the militia, what do they want their called the three percenters, and there's several chapters of them? They were involved in the here refuge standoff in Oregon, that made national headlines a couple years ago where the. Bundy's militia members took over a wildlife refuge out here in really rural, Oregon, so the militia when they heard about this. They offered to guard and protect the Oregon. Senate Republicans as they left the state, they have said that they are in contact in working with the Senate Republicans. The Senate Republicans, however, have said that they're actually not working with them. Okay. Democrats win a supermajority they've got a democratic government that cleared for takeoff on this cap and trade. Dream of there's Republicans flee the state rather than stay and vote against it knowing the lose their currently in Idaho and elsewhere, taking pictures of the sunset, or whatever some Alicia guys are trying to get involved. Where does this leave the cap and trade Bill that cap and trade Bill right now is certainly on shaky ground? There is talk in the Senate about killing it just to get the Republicans to come back. They're, they're just essentially running out the clock to the end of the legislative session because we are supposed to be adjourning at the end of this week. But if it fails, it would be a defeat for the Democrats here because they made passing the cap and trade program, a central goal of the twenty one thousand nine session, but the negotiations are ongoing and they are changing every hour. Lauren was right about things changing every hour per, so we spoke with her this morning. And since then, the Senate president, in Oregon, a guy named Peter. Courtney came out and said that this cap and trade Bill will not pass and that just created even more confusion. No one seems completely sure if this is a maneuver to get Republicans back to the Senate to vote on stuff before the legislative session ends on Sunday. Or if the state's Democrats are actually giving up on cap and trade for now. What's clear is that Republicans want nothing to do with cap and trade, which is funny because it was a Republican who introduced cap and trade to the United States to begin with? I'm Sean Rama's firm. That's next on today explained. How you getting ready for the debates? I've heard the candidates are doing a lot of old debates watching the doing some study sessions. I heard Biden's doing some push-ups the skim wants to help you prepare. They're saying to go to the skin that's two ams dot com slash debate. And boom. There you go. It says the road to twenty twenty there's lots of stars up at the top of the site, it says democratic primary debates, how to watch what to know who's running for the president accept it says who's running for pres- the Republicans? Let's like its tunnel. Trump Bill weld, then it's who's running for president, Democrats and Hobo. There's a lot of them. There's some cute graphics going on. Let's click on. Let's say Elizabeth Warren, that takes to Elizabeth Warren's pitch for twenty twenty the who the resume the elephant in the room. It's a powder. Strain, the twenty twenty policies check that out. You got a whole lot of information there waiting for you at the skim with two M'S dot com slash debate. Marathon, you write about energy and the environment here at vox. How would Oregon's proposed cap and trade Bill work? What would it do while it would set effectively, the second statewide cap on greenhouse gas, emissions in the country, set and law ever ever? Yes, the I was just last week, which was New York. The New York legislature has passed sweeping Bill that calls for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions in the next thirty years. This is not only a first step, but it is a giant step. It's a national step, but California also had a mandate that was implemented via an executive order. Well ahead of both of those states bun that wasn't set and law New York was set in law. And if Oregon gets this past be the second state to do it by law. Okay. So in this system like this, essentially, we set a cap a finite amount of greenhouse gas, emissions that are allowed to be omitted. Now, if you exceed that cap, you have to buy a credit. So if. You're a coal power plant, and you can't quite turn down enough. You can basically talk to your friend, the friendly neighborhood. Hydro electric power generator and say if you're producing some extra credits could we buy some of those and sort of offset what we're doing? And the idea is that overtime those credits are going to get more and more expensive. And so you can only buy our way out of the problem for so long eventually, you're going to have to make meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases, but by doing this cap and trade scheme, it's designed to give a little bit of flexibility to some folks, that are having a harder time than others in reducing their emissions and in the fight to combat climate change. How important a tool is cap and trade. A lot of economists would say that one of the primary things the inequality of finding climate change is pricing, greenhouse gas emissions. We have to create some sort of disincentive financially to pumping out carbon dioxide into the air cap and trade is one way of doing that. Another way of doing that is taxing carbon dioxide directly, but by attaching a price tag, you show, the entire industry in the whole world, that there is a negative extra analogy that's being built into the price of the activity that you're undertaking whether that's burning coal for electric city or burning gasoline to drive your car now. It's necessary, but it's not sufficient, you would still need other kinds of policies to say boost renewable energy and other kinds of social policies to help people that might lose their jobs. If you know, the price of field goes up and coal miners, get are no longer financially viable. But definitely foundational to all of that is a price on carbon dioxide emissions whether that's through attacks or a cabin traits game. Where did site even come from? I remember like starting to hear about this during the Obama years, a lot. But is it old and that, oh, yeah. This is a market based way of controlling pollution, and that you kind of hit that fact that this is something supported by free marketers people. Like Republicans, we set an ambition and embellishes reduction target and apply market forces will be the fastest most cost effective way to achieve it. One of the I implementations of cap and trade was actually with sulfur dioxide in the early nineties under the George Herbert Walker Bush administration. This was something done to control sulfur dioxide pollution, which was a main ingredient in acid rain. So we're allowing utilities to take to trade credits among themselves. For duchesne's. They make to let them decide how to bring aggregate emissions down as cost effectively as possible, and it actually turned out to be very effective. In pricing, carbon dioxide, what we're doing is we're pushing the cost of climate change back onto the people that caused it in the first place and our best position to get rid of it. How much of a game changer would this be for Oregon? Oregon is about fifty fifteen terms of power generation clean energy and fossil fuels. It gets the majority of its electricity from hydro electric, power, and then on the clean energy side. It's a lot of wind and nuclear energy, but on the dirty side or on the boss oil, fuel heavy side gets about thirty one percent of its electricity from coal and about sixteen percent from natural gas. And so on balance. There's still a lot of fossil fuels that are out there that need to be curbed and a lot of that could see price increases under a cap and trade scheme. And so the people that are dependent on fossil fuels or, you know, the fossil fuel generators, those utilities are less than pleased about this, as well as some of the folks who live in rural areas and depend more on things like trucking and diesel fuel and whatnot in order to do their work or to generate heat and power for their. Bility's. So there's potential this Bill really hurts people living out in the sticks while the Bill as structured has a lot of carve outs to try to mitigate the impact on individuals specifically, you know, low income people to make sure that their electric razor heating rates. Don't go up too much and on balance. You won't see too much of an increase in terms of things, like, you know, gasoline prices, and whatnot the people that are going to be hit are going to be the bigger industrial polluters. The big companies the steel mills the manufacturing plants in the power plants, and eventually those costs are going to be passed out through the economy. That's the fear is that ultimately, you know, the consumer will end up paying for it, somehow what's popular support like on this in Oregon. It's been fairly high. I mean rumored Democrats won the last election. They some of them campaigned on this issue, and they want super majorities Democrats that they're confident that if this Bill were put on a ballot. If this was made a ballot measure, that they would still win. It's just that they want to get it through the legislature because they have a lot of momentum and they think. Climate change is an urgent issue that demands action more quickly rather than slowly. So if this goes well in Oregon, and in New York, which just passed this what last week, you said. Yeah. Is there a chance that more states will reconsider cap and trade? Yeah. I mean, Oregon's kind of an interesting case because, you know, it's not New York and California, New York and California are very big states with large populations and huge economies. Oregon ranks twenty seven population. It's thirty eighth in greenhouse gas emissions. So if they can come up with a business case that sort of makes sense for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that affects a smaller state. Then a bunch of other smaller states could also see viable business case they could be laying the groundwork for states like Washington for Idaho for their for their neighbors. But also other states in the middle of the country, as well, how long before state like Texas does something like this Texas does have a lot of momentum. They are the largest wind energy producer in the United States. Yeah. The wind at night. Flow strong. Hi. I have no idea the windy state. Yeah, definitely Chicago, and that's unfortunate for them. But Texas also has very large oil and gas sector and they're pressing hard on both of those levers at the same time so they need to deploy clean energy, and they're happy to do it, but they're not really ready to pump the brakes on fossil fuels just yet. And there's a lot of political support behind them. It's a powerful and very wealthy industry in the state, which do you think comes verse a state, like Texas passing cap and trade or the federal government doing it for the whole country? That's a really interesting question at the federal level, there's some momentum that's building. We hear in congress. We heard about the green you deal for being sort of this set of principles that now every presidential candidate has to kind of answer for whether they agree with it or not. Yeah. So certainly there's a lot of national momentum building. And we've seen this happen with other policies, as well where the federal policy kind of outpaces, what happens at the states. So I do think that, that's probably the likelier scenario that the country as a whole in aggregate builds more momentum towards finding climate change than some of the more fossil heavy fossil, dependent states. And they may end up pulling them along with perhaps something like a national cap on greenhouse gases. Some kind of national carbon tax or other kind of mechanism that forces them to reckon with their greenhouse gas emissions. thanks to the skin for supporting the show today that skim with two M'S, of course right now at the skim dot com slash debate. You will find the things that you need to prepare yourself to watch the democratic debates, which are on Wednesday and Thursday before you watch S, K, I M, M dot com slash debate.