The Speaker Race and the Environment
No, it’s not a pretty picture. Scalise was bad. Jordan is worse.
In what felt like one of the few times I’ve actually been right about a political prediction, I told my wife that Steve Scalise would probably be the GOP’s pick to replace Kevin McCarthy. Sadly, I was only right for about 24 hours. Then Scalise, supposedly the more moderate candidate, dropped out. That left Jim Jordan. Neither would be a plus environmentally, to put it mildly. But Jordan is worse.
Let’s start with Scalise, who apparently still wasn’t conservative enough for the right wing of the party. Even so, there’s little in his record to give cause for happiness among environmentalists, starting with his 4% lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters.
Looking at the actual votes behind the LCV score, it turns out that Scalise has voted on the environmental side of just five of the votes scored by LCV since he recovered from his shooting in 2017. They didn’t exactly involve monumental, or even medium-sized issues, but dealt with buffalo management, driftnets, and Great Lakes restoration. (Three others weren’t really about the environment: two to remove Confederate statues and one to increase reporting of hate crimes.) I could say more about Scalise’s views, but since he’s now kaput, let’s move on.
Let’s switch to the leading alternative, Jim Jordan. Jordan’s lifetime LCV score is actually 3%. That must have been based on votes much earlier in his career. His last vote that was scored pro-environmental was in 2018, when he voted against a big appropriation bill that included big cuts in clean-energy related funding. It seems quite possible, though, that he voted no because it didn’t cut spending enough. I had to go back to 2015 to find another “pro-environmental” vote, which was against a trade agreement. More recently, Jordan has led the congressional attack on pro-ESG companies, threatening companies with antitrust action if they take climate risks into account.
That’s really a bad record, even given the generally anti-environmental stance of the GOP today. As a benchmark, Sen. Rand Paul has a lifetime score of 8%.
For those who might find it relevant, I should also mention that Jordan actively backed Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Jim Jordan got 45% of the votes while running against Scalise for the Speakership, which is a sign of where the House GOP is on the issues today. I would think that he would be unacceptable to the moderate bloc, but so far they’ve shown about as much backbone as a banana. So don’t count on them to block his election.
P.S. The “banana” metaphor was borrowed from another Republican, Teddy Roosevelt.