To hear McCain tell it, he’s always supported environmental initiatives and green technology innovations. He devoted at least a paragraph or two talking about solar and wind power, so-called “clean coal” and natural gas drilling. Here’s what it says on his campaign website:
John McCain Believes That The U.S. Must Become A Leader In A New International Green Economy. Green jobs and green technology will be vital to our economic future. There is no reason that the U.S. should not be a leader in developing and deploying these new technologies.
Lots of nice rhetoric and pleasant-sounding words, but does his record match up? According to fact-checking website grist.org, not so much:
…Democrats in Congress are pushing a number of supplemental bills, attempting to raise vehicle fuel-economy standards, remove tax breaks from fossil fuel industries, change utility regulation to encourage efficiency, boost basic research funding, extend production tax credits for renewable industries, and establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard to boost the amount of renewable energy in the U.S. mix.
Voting against these measures would boost McCain’s cred with the conservative base, but damage his green credibility. Voting for them would do the reverse. So what has Mr. Straight Talk done?
He has gone AWOL:
- On June 21, 2007, the Senate voted on the Baucus amendment to the energy bill, which would have removed some oil company subsidies in order to fund renewable energy. The amendment failed to pass. Where was McCain? He didn’t vote.
- On the same day, the Senate held a cloture vote to overcome the standard Republican veto threat and pass the energy bill. The vote succeeded. Where was McCain? He didn’t vote.
- On Dec. 7, the Senate held another cloture vote to overcome the standard Republican veto threat on the energy bill, which had become substantially bolder after being aligned with the House version. The vote failed. Where was McCain? He didn’t vote.
- On Dec. 13, 2007, the Senate held another cloture vote to overcome the standard Republican veto threat and pass the energy bill, which had the Renewable Portfolio Standard stripped out of it but retained a measure that would shift oil company subsidies to renewables. The vote failed — by one vote, 59-40. Where was McCain? He didn’t vote — the only senator not to do so.
- On Feb. 6, 2008, the Senate held another cloture vote to overcome the standard Republican veto threat and pass a stimulus bill containing a number of green energy incentives. The cloture motion failed, by one vote. Where was McCain? He didn’t vote — again, the only senator not to do so.
Because the bill has repeatedly failed to pass, several critical solar energy projects across the country, including on in McCain’s home state of Arizona, are on hold and may not ever be built. According to the project’s manager,
…“we cannot get our bank financing,” said Fred Morse, a senior adviser for the American operations of Abengoa Solar, which is building the project. “Without the credits, the numbers don’t work.” Some 2,000 construction jobs are on hold. (NYT, 12 Aug 08)
So, because of McCain’s dereliction of his only real duty in the Senate, to vote on bills, 2000 jobs won’t be created and an important energy project is on indefinte hold. Is this what McCain means by “Country First?”