Republican victory may end short-term prospects of US climate bill

21 January 2010 21:26  [Source: ICIS news]

Scott BrownHOUSTON (ICIS news)--The victory of Scott Brown in a special US Senate race will likely end the short-term prospects of a climate-change bill, a trade group said on Thursday.

Brown, a Republican, defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in an election to fill the seat of Ted Kennedy, the long-time Democratic senator from Massachusetts who died last year.

Brown, a Republican, will end the Democrat's filibuster-proof majority of 60 members, jeopardising several initiatives pushed through by the party.

Prior to Brown's election, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed a climate-change bill.

"We knew the direction of some of the major pieces of legislation, such as cap-and-trade, was headed downward well before Mr Brown's election," according to a statement by Bill Allmond, the vice president of government relations for the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).

"His victory will likely seal the fate of major initiatives this year," Allmond said.

In fact, Brown specifically campaigned against a national cap-and-trade programme, Allmond said. "As a result, this could, therefore, make it more likely that Congress will turn to less controversial, within-reach issues, like some of SOCMA's priorities."

Outside of climate change and healthcare, it is still too early to determine how Brown will vote on specific industry priorities, Allmond said.

Regarding general tax issues, Brown's statements suggest that he agrees with SOCMA's stance, which holds that lower taxes allow businesses to invest and create new jobs, Allmond said.

SOCMA is now discussing how Brown's election could influence its other legislative priorities in the short-term, such as chemical-site security, reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and international trade.

Meanwhile, SOCMA will maintain its strategy of educating Congress about the group's legislative positions, Allmond said.

"No industry can afford to become complacent just because the Senate no longer has a filibuster-proof majority," he said.

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