Being a Republican or conservative in Oregon can be tough. There’s usually not much to cheer about. State government is controlled by hard leftists repeatedly voted in or reelected by a Democratic Socialist base centered in “progressive” population centers.
But a few good Republican senators fought back the only way they could when a ruinous cap-and-trade bill moved dangerously close to passage at the hands of the state’s one-party ideologues.
Oregon’s Republican senators, for a second time, have refused to show up for the current legislative session in Salem, denying a quorum and grinding the legislature’s business to a halt.
The issue at hand is HB 2020, the cap-and-trade bill that threatens to cripple Oregon’s economy. A vote was scheduled for the morning of June 20, but the GOP senators walked out after 10 hours of negotiations with the governor. Senate rules require 20 members be present for a quorum, but there are only 18 Democrats. They would need two Republicans to agree to return.
The larger picture, however, is a Democratic supermajority that has failed to deal with Republicans in good faith, despite promises to work together on legislation.
The senators’ absence at the end of the current legislative session deprived the Democrat-dominated statehouse of a constitutionally-required quorum, thereby rendering the euphemistically-titled “Clean Energy Jobs Bill” dead in the water.
For a state GOP forever marginalized by Salem’s entrenched left-wingers, it was a major victory. House Bill 2020 would have been a disaster. Rising fuel costs, confusing emissions swap favoritism, and the prospect of a mass exodus of living-wage-paying employers into neighboring states characterize the likely effects of the poorly-crafted bill. Fair-minded analysts on all sides of the climate change debate agreed that HB 2020’s bottom line amounted to another social justice money-grab, for all intents and purposes a redistributive tax on productivity and economic health.
Despite a handful of Democrat defectors who shared oppositional concerns about the bill’s dire potential, if not for the Republicans’ guerrilla-withdrawal tactic the pro-cap-and-trade contingent would have carried the day. Instead, they were forced to sit on their hands in a derailed state capital while the clock wound down on a climate change mish-mash Democrats have been unsuccessfully trying to force on the Beaver State electorate for years.
Comments in the Oregonian’s banner post mortem ran heavily in favor of the GOP stratagem, with many on the right calling the fallback-to-victory Republicans “heroes.” Moderates and even some left-of-center commenters assailed Governor Kate Brown’s Democrats of arrogant overreach.
From Oregonian reporter Ted Sickinger’s report:
And, in the end, Democrats didn’t anticipate the sizeable backlash from rural Oregonians, perhaps overconfident that their supermajority would deliver the necessary votes regardless.
The legislatively-outgunned Oregon GOP has something to cheer about today. But it was more than just their bold tactic that doomed the bill.
Even climate scientists called upon to testify had to admit that upon passage, the dictates of the bill would have an “imperceptible” effect on the climate or environment. Hard-working, level-headed voters across the state are smart enough to figure out that all the rhetoric about “Oregon leading the way” is just that: junk science BS that will harm their families, destroy their businesses, and cripple the economy. A majority of citizens from all quadrants of the state understand that the bill would have put them in danger of being used as pawns in a follow-the-money enviro-scheme that will do nothing to address the supposed problem.
It should come as no surprise that the Salem Democrats were dead set against putting HB 2020 to a vote.
The bill’s ignominious failure serves as a microcosm of the growing national skepticism and resistance to cap-and-trade and other environmental boondoggles—even from people who actually believe in anthropogenic climate change: America is not going to bear the brunt or suffer the depletion of any laws or regulations that harm its virtually self-sufficient fossil fuel industry while other countries, China in particular, remain free to spew all manner of contaminants and pollutants into the atmosphere.
With the cap-and-trade battle notched as a win on Republican belts, the war for the future of the state rages on. The same legislature that was unable to pass cap-and-trade was able to vote through a bill granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Democrat lawmakers made sure to add language to the bill that precludes any possibility of the issue going before voters.
The bill, HB 2015, which Brown has vowed to sign, places into stark relief the reality of progressive ideology: work tirelessly to place roadblocks in the way of working- and middle-class citizens while pulling out the stops to make life easier for those in the county illegally.
But as it turns out, Oregon Republicans may not be as bad off as often portrayed. In their ranks are patriots willing the walk the walk, even if that means walking away from the table.
In Washington, they’ve got a fearless leader, who walked away from the selectively punitive Paris Climate Accords, a president determined not to make the nation a globalist crash test dummy for unsettled climate theory.
Mark Ellis is the author of A Death on the Horizon, a novel of political upheaval and cultural intrigue. He came aboard at PJ Media in 2015. His literary hangout is Liberty Island. Follow Mark on Twitter.