David Roberts+ Your Authors @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. Nov. 29, 2018 3 min read + Your Authors

1. There's an extremely important climate-policy story going on in the Senate right now & it's not getting enough attention. Everyone's focused on the House & the Green New Deal, but the Senate is where dreams go to die, especially if this goes the wrong way.

2. Long story short: it looks like Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) may become the ranking member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. If that happens, he'd become chair of the cmte when/if Dems take the Senate in 2020. That would be a DISASTER for climate policy.

3. I can't think of a single thing Senate Dems could do more likely to crush the bright new climate ambition in the House than having Manchin as chair of ENR. ENR is likely where climate legislation will happen in the Senate & the chair is the one who writes legislation.

4. Manchin, you will recall, literally shot the last climate bill that came out of the House -- and that bill was a fraction as ambitious as what climate activists want out of the House today. He is the single worst Senate Dem on this issue.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIJORBRpOPM 

5. What's going on? Well, Senate cmte appointments generally run on seniority. The gavel falls to the next most senior member (as long as they don't run another cmte -- can't run two). Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla) lost this year; he was ranking member in Commerce. So ...

6. Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA), who is now ranking on ENR, is expected to move over & become chair of Commerce. Who will take her place? Next ranking member on ENR is Wyden (OR), but he chairs Finance & wants to keep it. After him comes a young fellow named Bernard Sanders.

7. Sanders has been making lots of noise about climate change lately, issuing ambitious policy ideas. He's hosting a big televised town hall about it on Monday. Taking top spot on ENR would be a way for him to really get his hands dirty & do the work.

8. But it appears Sanders intends to keep his slot on the Budget Cmte, even if it means Manchin gets ENR. After all, ENR is a lot of work & Sanders has a presidential campaign to run.  https://www.politico.com/story/2018/11/28/bernie-sanders-manchin-senate-energy-995388 

9. Next in line after Sanders is Debbie Stabenow (MI), but she is ranking member on Ag, which writes the Farm Bill -- a powerful spot, significant for her state. So she'll stay put. And next after her? Manchin. The guy who shoots climate bills.

10. It will be an utter betrayal if Senate Dems allow their most important climate-policy committee to fall into the hands of their single most climate-hostile member. I can't figure out why climate activists aren't up in arms about this. It could happen as soon as tomorrow!

11. Cantwell could stay. Bernie could move beyond a life of campaigns & message bills & actually get some work done on climate. Schumer could bypass the seniority system & simply skip over Manchin to the next in line, Martin Heinrich (NM), who would be great. Anyone but Manchin.

12. I remember in 2008, climate hawks were so excited about Obama & his cabinet, so excited about the House ... and just kind of forgot about the Senate. But the Senate is where all their dreams went to die.  https://grist.org/article/2011-01-04-the-climate-bill-in-six-acts/ 

13. The Senate matters. If Dems take the presidency, Senate, & House in 2020 (not outside the realm of the possible) and Manchin runs the Senate committee where climate legislation is written, all hopes of a Green New Deal are forlorn. He will shoot them down, possibly literally.

14. The Democratic Party is moving left on climate change. So is the American public. Manchin is moving in the opposite direction, as his state clings desperately to coal. If Senate Dems care a shred about climate change: Anyone but Manchin. </fin>  https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/monmouthpoll_us_112918/ 

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