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Washington Watch

Energy Bill Passes Unanimously and Signed by President After All Provsions Are Removed

No...Wait...Correction: "Streamlined" Bill Passes 86-8 in Senate, 314-100 in the House, and Is Signed by the President

"The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007" Makes Such a Nice Title...Is It Just Picky To Want More?

After months of wrangling, Congress and the White House have finally agreed to a greatly reduced energy bill. President Bush signed the bill into law after Congressional Democrats meticulously eliminated all provisions that might possibly be objectionable to anyone anywhere at anytime: Congressional Republicans, the White House, oil companies, nuclear power companies, the President's relatives, your neighbor who drives a Cadillac, and other special interest groups.

Gone are the requirements for utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources and the elimination of $13.5 billion in tax breaks from the five largest oil companies. That money would have been put toward tax incentives for solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, wave energy, and other renewable energy sources. Consumers would have received a $3,000 tax credit for buying an electric plug-in hybrid and a tax credit of up to $4,000 for installing solar panels for their homes.

“This bill is lean and mean,” enthused one of the Senators from Texas...we don't remember her name..the female one.., while relaxing in the "congressional hammock" set up in her Capitol Hill office. “We don’t need a bunch of provisions cluttering up our bills. In fact, the less we actually change, the easier they are to pass. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to 'Guiding Light'. Oh, since you're up, could you hand me that pitcher of vodka and lemonade? Thanks."

The bill still contains increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards of 40 percent. This would raise the current average of 27.2 mpg for cars and 22.2 mpg for light trucks would rise to an average of 35 mpg by 2020.

The bill also expands the use of biofuels from 9 billion gallons next year to 36 billion gallons by 2022. Corn-based ethanol would still be subsidized, but the measure requires that by 2022, 21 billion gallons of biofuels come from other, preferably non-food sources, such as switchgrass and wood chips.

Seeking to build upon the success of the Energy Bill, retiring Mississippi Senator Trent Lott announced that he is going one step further. He will introduce the “Zero-Provisional Suggestion”, which seeks to do absolutely nothing--but does have 99 co-sponsors. “No provisions whatsoever,” notes Lott with pride. “We even used the word 'suggestion' instead of 'act' or 'bill', knowing that it would be less controversial.”

Despite Lott's optimism that Congress might actually pass his bill and the President could potentially decide not to veto it, some analysts worry that the act might offend those with Attention Deficit Disorder or are otherwise hyperactive. Lott's response, "I have been working in Congress my entire life, so I've never met anyone who is so-called 'hyperactive'. What the heck are you talking about, son?

And, since you're up, could you hand me that pitcher of vodka and lemonade? Thanks."