By the admission of White House staffers, the administration’s climate proposal could cost industry up to $2 trillion, and the Senate has just blocked the efforts to put climate-change legislation on a fast track.
President Obama’s proposal calls for a carbon cap-and-trade system that would set limits on greenhouse gas emissions and force industry to buy permits to pollute. However, it has been blasted by critics as a tax on carbon-emitting companies.
"The last thing we need is a massive tax increase in a recession, but reportedly that’s what the White House is offering," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner.
"And since this energy tax won’t affect manufacturers in Mexico, India and China, it will do nothing but drive American jobs overseas," he added.
Given its potential consequences, the Senate has rejected the administration’s efforts to fast-track the legislation through Congress.
Republican Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska hailed the move by stressing that the climate legislation can have a deep impact on American families and the economy, and as such it should be subject to appropriate scrutiny and open debate.
Reuters has reported Democrats could still try to attach the bill to the federal budget allowing it to be passed by a simple majority, but it says the chances are slim because they do not have enough support.