- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

President Obama believes “folks like John McCain” are responsible for the 2009 death of cap-and-trade legislation, a political failure by the White House and Capitol Hill Democrats that has ultimately led to a host a new climate-change regulations from the president’s Environmental Protection Agency.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mr. Obama said he now believes he should have moved to a “nonlegislative strategy” sooner in the fight against global warming. He hinted that he’d placed too much faith in Congress to address the problem and specifically called out lawmakers who previously had expressed support for a cap-and-trade system but then reversed themselves.

“I think the biggest problem we had was folks like John McCain, who had come out in favor of a cap-and-trade system, getting caught up in a feverish opposition to anything I proposed and reversing themselves — which meant that getting the numbers that we needed was going to be too difficult,” Mr. Obama said, taking aim at the Arizona Republican he defeated in the 2008 presidential election.

“And we probably should have moved faster to a nonlegislative strategy, but I don’t think that there was some magic recipe whereby we could have gotten cap-and-trade through the Senate without some Republican support,” the president continued. “We needed 60 votes. That’s the way the filibuster operates there.”

Cap and trade essentially is a tax on carbon emissions and would force companies to pay for their pollution. It’s long been supported by many Democrats who see it as perhaps the most effective way to cut carbon emissions.

But the measure failed in 2009. It was opposed by virtually all Republicans in Congress and some red-state Democrats who feared the legislation would cripple coal production, kill jobs and drive up energy prices.

With cap and trade now no longer viable, Mr. Obama has embraced an environmental regulatory structure the likes of which has never been seen before. The president’s climate strategy has included a host of new federal rules, including the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, which establishes the first set of nationwide limits on carbon emissions from power plants.

Federal data have shown the proposal will drive up electricity rates for most Americans.

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