Sean Casten Profile picture
Congressman, IL-06. Engineer. Former CEO. Dad. Husband. Occasional piano player. "A very dark horse". For official tweets follow @RepCasten
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27 Feb
Early this morning, we passed the #AmericanRescuePlan.

It's critically needed and the Senate must act now to get these resources into our economy to help struggling families and businesses, accelerate vaccine roll-out and safely reopen our schools.

A few important things:
1/ The single biggest line item in the bill is for direct, $1400 checks to people earning $75,000 or less ($150,000 for couples). $1400 per earner and each of their dependents.
2/ (If you earn more than these levels the amount of the payment scales down to zero at $100K/$200K), to ensure this is targeted to the neediest.)
Read 21 tweets
26 Feb
OK, so this gets me a little verklempt. Herewith a true story about two of the most special moments in the 116th Congress - the first Congress for me and my friend @SpanbergerVA07. Sharing because it's a nice story and we need more nice stories. Thread:
1/ So one of the weirder things about this job is that all votes "feel" the same. Lots of debate, drama, press before & after (some) votes, but the process of pressing yay or nay is the same on a post office renaming as it is on a $5T appropriation.
2/ Intuitively, of course we know some are more meaningful. But the feedback is usually delayed. My first experience of anything different was the vote on the #EqualityAct in the 116th.
Read 16 tweets
25 Feb
Hey #energytwitter! Been a while since I rapped at ya. How about a thread on how the securitization of undepreciated coal plant capital can accelerate the greening of the electric grid? (Honestly, if that doesn't keep you to keep reading, I can't help you.) Here we go:
1. Triggered by this piece this morning about efforts to do so in Wisconsin. energynews.us/2021/02/25/mid…
2. To understand why this is necessary, you need to understand that under the traditional regulated utility construct, a utility invests capital in exchange for a guaranteed rate of return, earned through kWh sales.
Read 14 tweets
20 Feb
Since you'll need a 2/3 majority, I'd encourage you not to skip over the bits about a "well regulated militia" and "bear arms" and ask why our founders chose that specific language. Then read Justice Stevens: law.cornell.edu/supct/html/07-…
You'll also want to consider why our founders chose the language in the final 2A while expressly rejecting this proposal from Pennsylvania:
And you'll want to examine why the Virginia proposal, which formed the basis of the final text initially included a religious exemption for "bearing arms", since our founders understood that term to be compulsory rather than voluntary.
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
For those wondering what the causes are of Texas blackouts, @JesseJenkins is doing a really good real time analysis of generator capacity and operation. (Short story: we have a natural gas problem in TX). A few additional thoughts to add:
1/ As Jesse notes, natural gas is somewhat unique in that it is both a power plant fuel and a home heating fuel. When cold weather comes, regulators bias in favor of heating rather than power generation.
2/ New England - a region that is both cold and has long been more reliant than others on natural gas for power generation - has had to grapple with this for a long time.
Read 12 tweets
14 Feb
I've been having a lot of conversations about deficits, fiscal and monetary policy right now & frustrated with how many basic facts about our economy are misrepresented. So for Valentines Day, a #nerdthread on our national finances. Hope you enjoy:
1/ First, prior to COVID, the biggest ever emergency funding program in our history was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in response to the 2008 crisis. Just shy of $700B in emergency funding.
2/ (In 2008 $. I leave to other nerdier nerds to adjust these numbers for inflation.)
Read 20 tweets
13 Feb
I'm obviously disappointed today. Disappointed in 43 Senators who found it easier to do what they knew was wrong than to embrace what is right. But before you get too down about partisanship in America, a bit of history is in order: (thread)
1/ The Senate voted 57 - 43 to convict. That didn't meet the 2/3 bar our founders set. Our founders had good reasons for setting the bar that high, but keep in mind - political parties did not exist at the time our founders wrote the Constitution.
2/ Since the Constitution was drafted, there have been 4 Presidential impeachments. In every instance, it was exceptionally hard for the party of the President to vote in favor of impeachment.
Read 11 tweets
10 Feb
Good data here from @IDPH on COVID vaccination rates by county. A few quick thoughts to share... dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccin…
1. As I noted at the DuPage fairgrounds yesterday, we have to play the cards we have, not the cards we wish we had. My height and vertical leap means I won't ever dunk a basketball. The process of vaccine rollout to date has created similar near-term challenges.
2. Among those issues is the lack of any federal coordination during the prior administration. From PPE to ventilators to testing to vaccines, states had to compete with each other rather than work collaboratively to crush the virus.
Read 12 tweets
5 Feb
MTG short take: values, morals, hopes and dreams that are universally shared by Americans across the political spectrum are only "partisan" in the sense that they are wholly rejected by majorities of the @HouseGOP.
That is cause for optimism insofar as the country is not nearly as polarized as it looks from within DC. But it's cause for great sadness for what it means about a once great political party.
The @GOP - a party that emerged to stop the spread of slavery, that gave our country the great gift of Abraham Lincoln - still has registered voters who are pro-decency, pro-equality, pro-science, pro-market, pro-truth.
Read 8 tweets
2 Feb
This is worth the read. It is the natural result of the fact that a transition to clean energy is a huge labor productivity enhancer. (Eg, many more MWH per hour of labor.) That is good for the economy but will create temporary labor dislocations.

eenews.net/stories/106372…
To be clear, there is a lot more in this story as well, and I wish we'd stop talking about highly technical jobs as an alternative to being a barista. It's an extremely patronizing view of the American worker.
But the core issue here derives from the fact that old, dirty energy sources are really OPERATING labor intensive. New clean sources require a surge in construction jobs but much less operating labor.
Read 5 tweets
1 Feb
There are some really remarkable graphics in this article, but I have a pet peeve with this sentence: hcn.org/issues/53.2/in…
There is this narrative that coal is cheap, and would still be dominant but for falling natural gas prices and clean energy tax credits. That simply isn't true. Coal hasn't been cheap since the Clean Air Act was passed. It's been slowly dying for decades.
Coal is only cheap if we're willing to let it be dirty. Get rid of scrubbers, baghouses, stop caring about acid rain and asthma and you can build a cheap coal plant. We haven't tolerated that since the CAA. Thankfully.
Read 13 tweets
29 Jan
This article is spot on. FERC has the potential to be one of the most impactful climate agencies in the Biden administration. Look forward to working with them. bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
That's in part because so many of the barriers to deploying cleaner, cheaper energy sit at the nexus between state and federal policy. @FERChatterjee is exactly right that FERC uniquely has the ability to free up (some) of those barriers. Image
But it's also because historically, FERC has done more to green our electric grid than any other agency. Order 888 (coupled with the '92 EPACT) is the primary reason why our grid emits 900 lb CO2/MWh today instead of 1300 it did then.
Read 4 tweets
28 Jan
Expect to see a lot more stories like this. But let's also use this to have a more sophisticated conversation about why the rising tide of cheaper, cleaner energy - like all prior energy transitions - doesn't necessarily lift all boats. Brief thread: theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/ne…
1/ First to state the obvious: the domestic fossil fuel industry in the US wouldn't exist without massive subsidies. $650B/year according to the IMF. imf.org/en/Publication…
2/ That in turn means that the transition to cleaner, cheaper energy is delayed by those market distortions. Taking away the subsidies is smart economic and environmental policy. It is FANTASTIC that @POTUS is doing so.
Read 10 tweets
26 Jan
@RepJasonSmith. Your staffer didn't get this email from @RepCindyAxne's staffer because you're a Republican. It came to you because you earned your power through a democratic election and then used that power to try and overturn our democracy. Not once, but three times.
First, when you signed onto the Amicus brief to the Supreme Court asking them to throw out the certified results of free and fair elections in GA, MI, PA and WI. projects.propublica.org/represent/memb…
Second, when you voted to reject the will of the voters in Arizona in the late hours on January 6th, AFTER terrorists had attacked the Capitol seeking to accomplish the same anti-democratic ends. clerk.house.gov/evs/2021/roll0…
Read 6 tweets
25 Jan
When Trump won in 2016, lots of Americans knew who he was. They listened to what he said and understood the stakes. So they peacefully protested, marched and organized. @GOPLeader didn't.

That is a judgement on him, not us.
@GOPLeader is descended from a long strain in American history who excuses violence from the privileged as the result of non-violent protest from the less fortunate. Equating an attack on the Capitol to Women's Marchers with #resist signs is only the latest incarnation.
Take this, for example. Do you read this as a righteous call for good trouble, or as cancel culture? @GOPLeader argues the latter.
Read 9 tweets
21 Jan
@GOPLeader's utter lack of a moral or factual north star will be his legacy.

400K dead of COVID. Massive WH criminality. Surging white supremacy. Record-breaking deficits. Frayed international alliances. January 6.

And a man with the gall to call himself a leader says this.
Look: unity is important right now, and some may see this as provocative. But we cannot move forward if we just sweep everything that got here under the rug. We tried that after the Civil War. It didn't work.
A commitment to unity and accountability shouldn't be partisan. But as long as it is, we have to be call out those fanned the flames of insurrection and now call for bipartisan unity to avoid personal accountability.
Read 9 tweets
21 Jan
A few thoughts and some reflection on the day while memories are fresh. In electing @JoeBiden, we just elected a very good man to be our President.

We just might have elected a great one. Thread:
1/ I woke up this morning reflecting on a fascinating and thoughtful interfaith conversation we had last night with @edstetzer (and others), focused on how we heal from January 6. For the full discussion, see here. facebook.com/RepSeanCasten/…
2/ My opening comments focused on the fact that America has only twice been attacked from within. At Fort Sumter in 1861 and earlier this month.
Read 12 tweets
18 Jan
Since you asked, here is peer reviewed research of large scale epidemiological data showing that COVID-19 spread significantly slowed down in states that mandated mask wearing vs those that didn't. healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hl…
In other words, people are alive today because other people paid attention to science and wore a mask. That is nothing to be angry about.
Here is a similar study looking at international data that found slower spread in countries with more cultural receptivity to mask wearing. researchgate.net/publication/34…
Read 8 tweets
18 Jan
A few thoughts on MLK. The beauty and sadness of his words is their timelessness. Beautiful because they keep resonating. Sad for the same reason. In that vein, take some time today to read his "Moutaintop" speech. (short thread): afscme.org/about/history/…
1/ For context: this was the speech he gave the day before he was assassinated. He was facing tension from within the civil rights community asking whether he was past his prime. His agenda was to expand the cause beyond issues of race to launch a poor people's campaign.
2/ The timelessness. He understood then, as was true in reconstruction as is still true today that the biggest barrier to racial equality in the US has always been those who would convince poor white people that they are better than poor black people.
Read 7 tweets
17 Jan
Every member of the @GOP calling for unity before they call for accountability and admit their complicity - whether silent or otherwise - should be ignored. The adults have work to do. While you're ignoring them, read this: thetriad.thebulwark.com/p/the-republic…
This:
This:
Read 5 tweets
15 Jan
Today I called on leadership of the @ILGOP to accept the results of the November election and condemn those in their party who are continuing to incite attacks against our democracy. m.facebook.com/story.php?stor…
Here in DuPage county, multiple candidates who lost in free and fair elections have continued to mount protests and use rhetoric directly linked to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.
Before January 6, that was a nuisance, but could be written off as the efforts of frustrated political dead-enders. After January 6, this must be seen in a different light.
Read 4 tweets