Target: Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID)
Goal: Stop using the federal budget as a political pawn to protect coal interests
Another government shutdown may be looming on the horizon for fall 2014, as senior Republican congressional representatives indicated they would be supporting a few tweaks in the appropriations bill that allows for the United States government to function. Namely, House and Senate Republicans — including Reps. Mike Simpson and Ken Calvert, both chairs on Appropriations subcommittees, and senior Senators John Thune, Jeff Sessions, Ron Johnson, and John Hoeven — are suggesting they will hold the budget hostage in protest of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations on coal-fired power plants. They claim that the new rules, with the goal of slashing climate change-related pollution by a margin of 30 percent by 2030, will hurt the economy by “driv[ing], artificially, the cost of power up,” as Johnson said to Talking Points Memo.
Thune, Senate Republican Conference Chair, told TPM that the Republican party will pursue “anything we can do to prevent the administration from going forward with what are really poorly timed, very burdensome, very expensive…regulations.” He claims that this Republican bloc is advocating for the exercise of “its constitutional power — the power to fund or not fund.” However, passing an appropriations bill is one of the most central duties of Congress. Our representatives have failed us when they refuse to pass an appropriations bill to fund the basic and necessary functions of the federal government, especially at the expense of much-needed and broadly supported environmental regulation. These congresspeople are displaying their enduring loyalty to big coal and their lack of faith in the American people to come up with better, eco-friendly, and more cost-effective solutions to our fossil fuel addiction.
By signing this petition, you are condemning the Republican Senators and Representatives for their loyalty to big coal over their constituency, as a majority of Americans identifying with both parties support increased environmental restrictions. You are demanding that they cease threatening the federal budget and fulfill their basic duty of passing an appropriations bill.
Dear Rep. Mike Simpson,
You and fellow senior Republicans in Congress have displayed highly disappointing behavior recently, threatening the federal budget in a concerted effort to protect coal interests from the much-needed and broadly supported tighter restrictions on the coal industry. A recent poll found that 53 percent of Republicans in battleground states favor allowing the EPA to kick regulations up a notch, and Americans from both northern and southern states agree that it is time to cut carbon pollution.
The government shutdown threat that you and your Republican colleagues have issued is ridiculous and may cost you your jobs if you refuse to rescind it. Last year’s shutdown devastated the economy and many Americans, sending some $24 billion down the drain and cutting people off from vital social services. The fact that you are taking up arms on behalf of big coal points to the fact that you value your big coal allies more than your constituents, and that you have little faith in the innovation and resourcefulness of the American people to produce a better alternative to coal and other fossil fuel energy sources. I urge you to stop threatening another government shutdown and pass an appropriations bill, which is part of the job to which you were elected. I urge you to fulfill your duty to your constituents and not put their government and economy in danger with another shutdown.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Keith Ellison via Flickr