Right before Waxman-Markey passed the House, Lloyd Doggett — a committed environmentalist — gave an impassioned speech on the floor of the House about how passing ACES was worse than doing nothing:

The real cap is on the public interest, and the trade is from the public to the polluters. It’s too weak to spur new technologies and green jobs. An administration analysis shows that doing nothing actually results in more new renewable energy, electricity generation capacity than approving this bill.

Vital authority for the EPA is stripped, but two billion additional tons of pollution are approved….forever. Residential consumer protection, incredibly entrusted to the mercy of utility companies. Exempting 100 new coal plants, and paying billions to Old King Coal, does indeed leave him a merry old soul.

This bill is 85% diffferent from what President Obama proposed just a few months ago. No wonder that his budget director called this type of legislation “the largest carpet welfare program in the history of the United States.”

Until families share in the billions this bill grants powerful lobbies, I cannot support it.

A short time later, Doggett voted in favor of the bill.

What happened? Why did members like Doggett and Tom Perriello, who had committed to vote against the bill, switch their votes?

Now we know:

Pelosi and her top lieutenants would spend the next four hours whipping, cajoling, begging and browbeating undecided Democrats — and triple-checking their whip lists to decide who was a solid “yes” and who was prevaricating on the cap-and-trade legislation.

Yet no matter how many calls they made — or how many times they checked and rechecked their list — Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) kept coming up between 12 and 20 votes short of the 216 votes needed to win.


Party leaders agreed to bring the bill to the floor during a meeting Monday night, even though some of the members present had reservations about forcing vulnerable Democrats to cast votes on a package that may not go anywhere in the Senate.

That’s crap — vulnerable progressive Democrats like Perriello were forced to vote yes against their conscience* to give cover for safe Blue Dogs like Gene Taylor to vote “no.”

One of Pelosi’s first targets was Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), a key fence-sitter who wanted more money generated from the carbon trading to be directed to the research and development of green technology.

Pelosi talked to him again and again, but he wouldn’t budge. Her message to him was the same as it was to others: It wasn’t worth voting against the bill because of what wasn’t in it.

According to witnesses, Pelosi perched herself on the arm of Holt’s chair and went nose to nose with him for a half-hour warning him that his no vote could scuttle the entire climate change effort — and that liberals would have another chance to make their case once the bill came back from the Senate.

Around 2 o’clock, he became a “yes.”

Next up was Austin, Texas, liberal Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who had seemed to be leaning toward the bill during a Thursday night visit with Obama in the Oval Office — but then infuriated the White House midday Friday by declaring the measure too weak on polluters to win his vote.

An exasperated White House staffer told POLITICO it was “stunning that he would ignore the wishes not just of his president but of his constituents and the country.”

This is exactly the argument that was made to progressives during the supplemental — it turned into a loyalty test to the President.

Then Pelosi began working Doggett as the two stood in the back of the chamber near the railing, making the same perfect-is-enemy-of-the-good argument she had used against Holt. Doggett ended up voting “yes.”During the vote, Washington Rep. Jay Inslee, one of the taller members of the House, guarded the doors on the floor leading out to the Speaker’s Lobby, warning members not to leave the floor in case anyone needed to switch his or her vote. But that didn’t stop some Democrats, like Colorado Rep. John Salazar, from voting no early and sneaking out to avoid getting pressured by party leaders.

Leadership aides say Texas Rep. Ciro Rodriguez promised Pelosi he’d vote yes, but voted no and sprinted from the chamber. California Rep. Xavier Becerra tried unsuccessfully to flag him on his cell phone — and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) bounded into the ornate Speaker’s Lobby off the floor shouting, “Rodriguez! Rodriguez!” as puzzled reporters looked on.

This is a picture of what will happen on the Public Option. Trial balloons are already being sent up about a sell-out, and the “co-op” plan is now the “liberal option” among the Villagers. Progressives (like Adam Green) who represent the feelings of 76% of the country are “extremists” who want to “kill health care reform.”

We’re headed for a bad compromise unless members of Congress know that there is safety in numbers, that their constituents are aware of what’s going on and won’t let their arms get twisted into betraying their districts. This is why we need to get them on the record. Now. They need to Take the Pledge to vote against any bill that doesn’t have any health care bill if it doesn’t include a public plan that is 1) available nationwide, 2) from day one, and 3) answerable to Congress and the voters.

Inslee and others need to know that we don’t want the Doggett story replayed on health care.

*Update:  Perriello’s office contacted us to say that he always intended to vote against  the bill.