“We will have a bill,” the California Democrat said in a brief interview today after her weekly press conference.
So Greenwire (subs. req’d) reports this afternoon, for those who had any remaining doubts about whether the Waxman-Markey clean energy and climate bill would pass the House (see also Boucher predicts “I think we’ll do far better than” the 218 votes needed to pass Waxman-Markey, GOP’s Walden agrees passage likely).
House Democrats are expected to close ranks within days on a major energy-and-climate proposal, leading to floor debate and final passage before the July 4th recess, according to key lawmakers and sources tracking the debate.
Behind-the-scenes talks on the comprehensive bill have left only a few critical sticking points, but those issues are expected to be resolved soon as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weighs in on an issue at the top of her legislative agenda.
What about the push-back from the aggies that seems to be flooding the media in the last couple of day?
The biggest sticking point to date in the climate debate centers on farm-state Democrats. House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota said he spoke about his concerns by phone yesterday with Pelosi.”She wants to get involved in these issues and see if there’s a way to resolve them,” Peterson said today.
The Peterson added that he is planning to meet later today with Pelosi, Waxman and Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee.
“We’ll see if we can come to a meeting of the minds about what’s practical,” Peterson said….
Waxman added that he will be addressing lawmakers’ concerns with changes to his underlying legislation.
“I think we’ll have a manager’s amendment that will make a lot of improvements to the bill, that’ll reflect some changes that we think are appropriate,” Waxman said….
Peterson today will chair a hearing on the climate bill that includes testimony from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is expected to push for passage of the legislation. Waxman also goes before the 69-member New Democrat Coalition, which includes Reps. Jake Crowley of New York, John Barrow of Georgia and Jay Inslee of Washington….
And one former Democratic leadership aide said today that the Pelosi-led negotiations are expected to accelerate once Peterson finishes his hearing today.
“I think everything pulls together very quickly after tomorrow,” the former House staffer said. “My guess is it moves quickly.”
While Waxman and other House Dems are still saying this will get to the floor the week of June 22, Pelosi is making no promises:
Earlier, Pelosi sidestepped questions about the timing of a floor debate starting the week of June 22.
“We will bring the bill to the floor when they are ready, whether it’s health care or whether it’s energy, when they are ready,” Pelosi said, citing work in eight other panels beyond the Energy and Commerce Committee. “That’s the process we’re involved in, and when we’re finished and when we’re ready, we’ll go to the floor.”
And Republicans seem to agree the House will pass the bill:
Several House Republicans, including Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Greg Walden of Oregon, said yesterday that they expect Democrats will be able to pass their climate bill, even with minimal GOP support.