Wall Street Journal

Cap and Tax Collapse
The Wall Street Journal

Please pass Al Gore a Valium — and better make it a double — because his cap-and-trade dreams just took a dive in the U.S. Senate. In a vote late Wednesday, no fewer than 26 Democrats joined all 41 Republicans to insist that any new cap and tax on carbon energy would require at least 60 votes.

Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander called it « the biggest vote of the year » so far, and he’s right. This means Majority Leader Harry Reid can’t jam cap and tax through as part of this year’s budget resolution with a bare majority of 50 Senators. More broadly, it’s a signal that California and East Coast Democrats won’t be able to sock it to coal and manufacturing-heavy Midwestern states without a fight. Senators voting in favor of the 60-vote rule included liberals from Wisconsin, Michigan and West Virginia.

Though the press corps has barely noticed, this means that two of President Obama’s most economically destructive priorities have taken major hits in the last two weeks. The cap-and-tax collapse follows Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter’s decision to oppose Big Labor’s attempt to eliminate secret ballots in union organizing elections. If Mr. Specter holds firm, and as swing state Democrats also look for cover, Republicans will be able to prevail on a filibuster.