Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) plans to unveil a major global warming bill immediately after Congress returns from the August recess, she said today….
Boxer predicted she would have at least one Republican co-sponsor on her bill, though she would not name names.
So E&E News PM (subs. req’d) reported last night. I see this delay as a sign that she is serious about trying to craft a bill that can garner 60 votes, which will not be easy (see “Epic Battle 3“). I don’t think the Republican cosponsor will be someone from the committee. Maybe it will be one of the two Maine senators.
How will all the different pieces by different committees be reconciled?
Six different Senate committees are writing pieces of the climate and energy bill, ultimately leaving it to Democratic leadership to resolve differences, Boxer said, noting that she expects panels to overlap in certain areas. “I think all the committees will put in their opinion on the areas where they think they have some jurisdiction, and then Senator [Harry] Reid will take what he feels are the best parts of the bill,” she said.
Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) today acknowledged plans for a markup on his pieces of the climate bill. “It is getting in shape,” Rockefeller said. “But as everything with the climate bill, we’re way — we’re still forming, talking, discussing, options are open. Nothing is final. At all.”
Other committees with a stake in the climate bill are Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources, Finance, and Foreign Relations. The Agriculture and Foreign Relations panels have yet to signal for sure whether they will offer language through a formal markup. Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) has already passed legislation that includes a nationwide renewable electricity standard and a raft of other energy incentives, including a provision that could bring oil and gas rigs closer to Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said last week that he plans to mark up sections of the bill dealing with emission allowances and international trade.
Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate’s majority leader, has set a Sept. 28 deadline for the committees to complete any legislation.
One last note to E&E News:
Also today, one of President Obama’s top legislative aides, Jay Heimbach, briefed about a dozen Senate Democrats on the White House’s strategy for handling the climate issue.
Outreach to Senate moderates will be critical if Reid and the Obama administration can pull off a victory on the climate bill, for which winning 60 votes requires compromises across regional and party lines.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), one of the fence sitters on the global warming bill, said he has been hearing from Senate advocates during floor votes, the beginning of what he expects will be a larger lobbying campaign as the debate ripens. “They’re talking about the right thing when they recognize that anything that increases utility rates has to be looked at to see if there’s a way to avoid that result,” Nelson said. “I think that’s the right subject. I don’t know if they can accomplish their objective.”
Nelson is about as much of a fence sitter as Boxer is. Nate Silver gives him a “probability of yes vote” near 10%. Heck, even E&E‘s own ranking system lists him as “probably no” — not in the fence sitter category.
So I really don’t think quotes from him are terribly indicative of anything.