This week the Senate builds momentum toward passing a comprehensive global warming bill.
Late last Friday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer released her 923 page chairman’s mark of the global warming bill she and Senator Kerry introduced earlier in the year (S.1733). The long anticipated mark finally gave details such as emission allowances. These allowances mirror the allowances set in the Waxman Markey House climate change bill. She also released a US EPA analysis that shows her bill would cost the average household about $100 per year, which also resembles the Waxman Markey House climate change bill.
Starting today, Chairwoman Boxer will begin a three day hearing on the climate bill. Top officials from the Administration are expected to testify, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. The three day hearing will host nearly 50 other witnesses.
Link to the webcast for the hearing
Boxer has also penciled in a committee markup next week for the climate bill but is reluctant to give an exact date.
Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was scheduled to meet with Senator Kerry to discuss a short and long term strategy for garnering the 60 votes necessary to pass this legislation on the Senate floor. Last week, Senator Kerry went on record stating he would like to see the five committees with jurisdiction over this bill to complete their work prior to Thanksgiving. Reports indicate Senator Kerry is hoping to get this done and to the floor prior to the Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen this December. According to sources, no decision on a timeline was reached in yesterday’s meeting.
Energy and Natural Resources Committee is the only committee to complete action on the bill (their version is S. 1462). Sources on the hill say that Boxer met with Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman last week to review how their two bills could be combined. Bingaman’s bill included a renewable electricity standard and a host of other energy incentives. Agriculture, Commerce, Foreign Relations and Finance have not scheduled any formal hearings or markups. Many of these chairs, such as Senator Baucus of the Senate Finance Committee, have been entrenched with the current Healthcare debate.
Even with the current momentum building in the Senate, many still doubt a final bill will be signed by President Obama this year. Any changes made to the Senate version will have to be voted on again in the House. With the House already voting out their Waxman Markey bill with a close vote of 219 to 212, some say any changes made to attract Senators may make the first time House supporters reverse their vote and turn against the measure. Reports have indicated House Energy Chairman Henry Waxman has been in close contact with the Senate to keep the bi-cameral deal in motion.
S1733 chair mark summary 10 26.pdf
EPA Analysis of S 1733.pdf