Legislation is difficult to pass because of differing political interests of politicians and special interest groups. A politicians job is to represent his constituency (and more specifically to convince them to vote for him again) and with 435 representatives and 100 senators from varies regions the perceived interest of all are rarely in line. Maybe there is a senator who represents a state with coal reserves he hopes to get exploited or a representative from an area populated by conservative industrialists that down want to have to invest in reducing their carbon footprint. Add into the mix lobbyist paid by special interest groups, such as the oil industry, that are paid to convince the politicians to vote for their own agenda and you get a mess of conflicting interests. If we had the same resources as oil and gas companies (no pun intended) to hire lobbyist I’m sure environment issues would be addressed much quicker.
To add to that, it has to due with money and power. The reasons for most political acts have to do with that, and sweeping change may hurt one industry, and that industry may fund a certain politician.
And unfortunately, partisianship plays a big role, where people will not join with their political opposites for no other reason than because they can. Too often debates become less about the topic, and more about the person who is being debated.
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