Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Is Baron Hill high and dry?

July 28, 2010

Baron Hill, who represents the 9th U.S. House of Representatives district in southeastern Indiana, is still saying he did the right thing by voting for the cap-and-trade energy bill last summer. The Seymour Democrat reiterated in a telephone town hall meeting recently that the bill would clean the air and help the nation become more energy-independent.

But Hill was the only Hoosier representative to vote for the bill, a high priority for House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Fellow Democrats Joe Donnelly, Brad Ellsworth and Pete Visclosky distanced themselves from the legislation out of fear it would raise energy costs and send jobs overseas to countries with fewer environmental restrictions. And probably also out of fear of a voter backlash.

Now, due to opposition from Senate Republicans, cap and trade has been scratched from the energy bill the Senate will begin discussing next week.

Hill was one of several Rust Belt Democrats who demanded that Pelosi mitigate the impact of cap and trade before getting their vote. But with the chances of passage in the Senate all but nil, Hill has been left to defend his stance against an aggressive Republican challenger, Todd Young, who beat longtime Hill foe Mike Sodrel in the primary election.

In other words, Pelosi led Hill into believing the Senate would complete the task, and he’s been left to twist in the wind. Hill also voted for health care reform, another target of Young’s.

How would you rate Hill’s prospects this fall? Will cap and trade haunt him?

Also, what are your thoughts on cap and trade? Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is quite capable of turning a phrase, once said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that it amounted to “imperialism” foisted on the country by states like California, Massachusetts and New York, and “won’t save a single polar bear.”

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