There are four key players in the following scenario:
* Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, is chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee and one of the title sponsors of the Obama-Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade anti-global warming energy bill approved earlier this year by the House.
* Bill Beach is director of the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank, which does widely respected, exhaustively detailed econometric studies of proposed legislation.
* Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, is chairman of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, and a name co-sponsor of the Senate version of Waxman-Markey.
* Sen. John Kerry, D-MA., was the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and, with Boxer, a name co-sponsor of the Senate version of Waxman-Markey.
Now, earlier this month, Congressional Quarterly reported that Boxer and Kerry had given the EPA a copy of the "semi-final draft" of their bill and asked the agency to conduct an econometric analysis. That elicited a request from Heritage for a copy of the bill so that CDA could do its own econometric study of its likely impact on jobs and the economy, as it had done on Obama-Waxman-Markey.
The Heritage request to Boxer and Kerry was instantly rejected by their staffs, so Heritage wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asking for a copy of the legislation submitted to her agency for cost analysis. To date, Jackson has yet to respond to the Heritage request.
There are several kickers here. Kicker Number One: EPA doesn't even do econometric studies, so why would Boxer and Kerry ask the agency to do something it is incapable of doing? Kicker Number Two: Why the secrecy about the text of Boxer-Kerry from both Boxer and Kerry, and from EPA? Kicker Number Three: Heritage and five other respected outfits, including the Brookings Institution, did detailed econometric studies of Obama-Waxman-Markey, so why not make it possible for them to do the same for Boxer-Kerry?
Further complicating the situation is the fact Boxer and Kerry have put their bill on a legislative fast-track, with the goal of finishing sometime in November before Congress adjourns for the year. Considering the disastrous potential consequences for all Americans if a version of cap-and-trade is approved, it is especially important that all members of Congress have all the facts available to them before voting on this legislation.
Why should you care about these inside-baseball happenings on Capitol Hill? Because if either Obama-Waxman-Markey or Obama-Boxer-Kerry, or some hybrid version combining elements from both becomes law, it will cost millions of jobs, spark unprecedented increases in energy prices and in the cost of everything that requires energy to be produced or moved, and force seriously damaging fundamental changes in the nation's energy infrastructure.
More to come.