Thursday, September 24, 2009

Senator Blanche Lincoln and cap and trade legislation

Blanche Lincoln grew up on a farm in Helena, Arkansas where her family raised rice, wheat, soybeans and cotton. After graduating from Randolph-Macon College, she worked as a congressional staffer for the 1st district in Arkansas and then as a lobbyist for William Broadhurst. In 1992, Blanche ran against her former boss, Bill Alexander, and was elected to the House of Representatives as the Congresswoman for Arkansas’ 1st district.

In 1998, at age 38 Lincoln became the youngest woman Senator ever elected to the U.S. Senate. As Arkansas’ junior Senator, Lincoln has emphasized the importance of farming, the rural economy, and communities. She is supportive of farming subsidies; in 2007, she orchestrated the defeat of an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have capped federal farm supports at $250,000 annually, arguing that the amendment was unfair to the rice and cotton farmers in her state.

In September, Lincoln was named Chairwoman for the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Lincoln’s focus will be on reauthorizing the childhood nutrition act, implementing the 2008 Farm Bill, and regulating commodities. In contrast to other Democrats, she has been openly critical of the House climate change bill. Lincoln claims that the legislation will, as written, cause financial difficulties for many farmers and ranchers. She finds fault with the current legislation, saying that it does not fulfill its own objectives of reducing greenhouse gases, creating jobs, decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and strengthening the U.S. economy.

“I am opposed to the House passed cap-and-trade legislation for various reasons…In my opinion it picks winners and losers, and that’s not our job up here.” Lincoln stated in an interview.

What are your thoughts about Senator Lincoln’s views on cap and trade legislation? How will her leadership help or hinder the progress we make as a scientific community?

President Obama stated yesterday at the United Nations that “the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.” Check out what U.S. Senators are saying about the expected timing for climate change legislation in the clips from E&E News located in the Hill Heat article, “Senate Watch, Moving Slowly: Barrasso, Baucus, Boxer, Durbin, Kerry, McCain, Reid”.

If you could present a cap and trade idea before congress, what would it be? Would you argue for or against the House bill?

"Sen. Blanche Lincoln."Almanac of American Politics (2009): n. pag. Web. 24 Sep 2009.

"Blanche Lincoln." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 22 Sep 2009, 20:38 UTC. 22 Sep 2009

Ellyn Ferguson, . "Senate Agriculture Chairwoman: House Climate Bill Would Hurt Farmers." Congressional Quarterly 15 Sep. 2009: n. pag. Web. 24 Sep 2009.

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