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You've Read the Headlines

You've probably read news stories, or seen reports on TV, or heard reports on the radio about how House Speaker Boehner has allowed dozens of amendments to come to the House floor to be voted on, congratulating himself on his transparency (is that his liver I see in there?) and openness. In response to this invitation, house members came forward with an astonishing variety of bills, one worse than the next.

To wit: Bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. Prevent the EPA from regulating cement kilns, a major source of mercury emissions. Prohibit the government from contributing money to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (winner of the Nobel prize). Stop the EPA from regulating coal ash. Stop the EPA from regulating mountaintop-removal coal mining. Eliminate the president's authority to create national monuments. Stop the Forest Service from regulating use of off-road vehicles in the national forests.

You get the picture, and that only scratches the surface. The League of Conservation Voters has done us all a major service by publishing a description of 25 of these bills along with a chart showing how every member voted on each one. One thing that jumps out at you is how very polarized the House has become: the votes are mostly straight party line. Remember when we had moderate Republicans like Pete McCloskey and John Chafee in the Congress? No more.

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