Grijalva caves on climate change because of health care reform

The co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, Raul Grijalva, said yesterday that he won’t make any absolute demands on climate change legislation since he made such demands on health care reform, demanding a public option be included in the final bill, and then didn’t follow through on his threat. Now, the lesson Grijalva could have learned was “if you don’t follow through on your threats, people won’t take you seriously. Instead, Grijalva learned that you shouldn’t make threats.

This does not bode well for immigration reform, or any other progressive issue in the future, if the co-head of the progressive caucus is now admitting defeat.

And, this was a concern that we had enunciated last fall. By caving on health care reform, liberals were setting themselves up for fails on other progressive issues – no one would take their demands seriously. I’m not convinced that liberals should have voted against HCR, but I’ve always been worried that the approach the administration took towards the debate (one of weakness) would end up haunting us on other legislation in the future. And now it already has.

Liberal House Democrats are shifting their political tactics on climate change after failing to secure a public option in the new healthcare reform law.

The move comes in the wake of liberals having to walk back threats that they would vote against a healthcare bill without a government-run program.

“Drawing the line in the sand too quickly was part of the lesson we learned on healthcare,” the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), told The Hill.

Grijalva voiced strong concerns about the direction of the climate and energy bill, which has moved toward the center as Democrats try to build a bipartisan consensus that can win 60 Senate votes. Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are leading the effort in the upper chamber to pass a comprehensive bill.

A cap-and-trade program, which was included in the House bill that passed last year, is likely to be jettisoned, and President Barack Obama disappointed liberals last week by announcing his support for expanding offshore oil drilling. The president’s decision was seen as a move to garner the support of conservative Democrats and Republicans who would be open to voting for a comprehensive climate and energy measure.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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