The Dernogalizer

June 19, 2009

Update:Floor Debate Next Week Unlikely

It looks as though the deadline of June 19 is not going to be met for getting the Waxman-Markey bill out of committee, although this is not yet definite.  Negotiations are still taking place between the bill’s writers and Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson.  I got forwarded an update by Energy and Environment Daily from a subscriber, and I think it will be worth reposting below.  I only have a loose opinion, but it might not be a bad thing that the bill has to wait until after the July 4 recess.  Healthcare seems to be moving ten times as slow, so I don’t think it will overwhelm a climate bill in July.  This would also buy more time for activists to push for strengthening amendments to be introduced, and more time for House leadership to negotiate with swing vote lawmakers to get additional yes votes.  The important thing in my opinion is to get the bill passed in the House before the Senate begins a mark-up so that some momentum can be built.

CLIMATE: House unlikely to debate cap and trade on floor next week — Hoyer

(06/19/2009)

Darren Samuelsohn and Ben Geman, E&E senior reporters

House Democratic leaders today dampened prospects for floor debate next week on a comprehensive global warming and energy bill, while still leaving open a narrow window if key committee leaders can reach agreement on a variety of outstanding issues.  “At this point in time, I have no reason to believe that it’s going to be on  the floor next week, but I want to make it clear to the members that work is  being done as we speak on this bill,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)  said this afternoon on the House floor during his weekly wrap-up session.  <http://www.eenews.net/eed/documents/climate_bill_house.pdf>  “We believe this is a very critical and important bill,” Hoyer added. “We believe this is one of the president’s priorities. So I say to the gentleman, I have not announced it on the schedule, my present expectation is it will not be on for next week. But if an agreement was reached today or tomorrow, and it was possible to move it forward, it is possible, and if we had the time to do that, it is possible that we would consider that next week.”

The House will not return for votes until Tuesday evening, leaving a shortamount of time for a climate debate before Congress leaves for the weeklong Independence Day recess, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told E&E. Pelosi also insisted that she never was wedded to bringing the legislation up before July 4.  “We’ll see how it goes,” Pelosi said. “That would be an ambitious schedule, because we’re just finishing the referrals for some of the committees today, and I’ve yet to see the language. Our main issue is, we don’t come in until Tuesday night. So it’s a short week in terms of getting started. But I’m very comfortable with where we are.”  If Democrats cannot get the bill on the floor, Pelosi said she would bring it up when lawmakers return next month. She also downplayed a concern raised by key Democrats, including Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), that the health care debate would dominate the July floor agenda and limit the ability to take up the climate bill.  “Everything is going great,” she said. “It’s the legislative process. It’s going great, and I feel good about it all. We’re going to reach our goals.  And it’s pretty exciting, as a matter of fact. I’m really very excited about the Democratic response. It’s been very, very positive.”  Talks on the climate bill continued into this afternoon as Waxman huddled with Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), as well as several farm group representatives and top White House energy adviser Carol Browner, her assistant, Heather Zichal, and President Obama’s chief legislative aide, Phil Schiliro.  “I’d like to have [Browner] in the room with the farmers,” Peterson said before the meeting. “I’m getting tired of going around in circles. I want to get all the players in the room.”  Peterson said he was frustrated with the back-and-forth this week over the negotiations as key lawmakers have given varying assessments on the status of the talks, only to remain shy of any final deal. “I’m trying to translate between the people that speak Urdu and French,” Peterson said. “And I can’t speak either language. And I’m trying to translate. I’m tired of it.”  Also today, a House Democratic leadership aide said that all eight of the committees with jurisdiction on the bill “are ready to be discharged.  Negotiations obviously continue in separate committees toward manager’s amendment, exchange of letters, conference, etc. But the June 19 deadline has been met for committee referrals.”

Details emerge

Firm details of the negotiations remain unclear in part because of their fluid nature, but several lawmakers privy to the talks said today that one area of possible agreement involves a plan for giving between 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent free allowances to rural electric cooperatives.  Waxman earlier today met with Glenn English, the former Oklahoma Democratic congressman who now runs the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.  “I think they needed 0.7, and I heard they got it, or they got what they needed,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  Asked about the allowance deal, Waxman replied, “I don’t want to verify anything until it’s nailed down.”  And for his part, Peterson said he is still looking for a complete readout of the meeting. “None of it is settled until all of it is settled,” Peterson said.   “Apparently there was a discussion between Mr. English and Mr. Waxman this morning that Henry described as positive. I haven’t had the time to talk to English to find out what his side of it is.”  But on another Waxman offer, Peterson said Democrats on his committee last night were cool toward a concept Waxman floated in the discussions to ease farm-state concerns about how agricultural offsets are treated in the bill.  Peterson called it a complicated plan that would see “money set aside for a new greenhouse gas conservation program tied together with some offsets.”  Peterson said the proposal “by and large blew up last night,” but did not say it was off the table completely.  “Nobody understood it, for one thing,” he said. “It is a whole new concept being brought in at the last minute. The attitude was, maybe we can look at this, but we don’t see how this works.”  Peterson has several other concerns with the bill — he is wary of U.S. EPA involvement with agricultural emissions policy overall and wants the Agriculture Department to run that sector’s offset programs.  As lawmakers break for the weekend, Peterson said he did not expect to have language written in time for their review. “If you are going to draft this new idea, it would take days to draft,” he said. “I am not sure there is enough interest in it even to go through the effort of drafting.”  Peterson also said he cannot support the House climate bill unless he secures language that would alter EPA biofuels policy. Specifically, he wants to bar EPA from including greenhouse gas emissions from “indirect” land-use changes when measuring the carbon footprints of biofuels. “We want this gone,” he said.  Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a lead co-author of the House climate bill, did not give a direct answer when asked if Peterson’s goal was acceptable. “We are working with him on that issue right now,” he said. “Hopefully, we are going to be able to resolve that.”  EPA is measuring these emissions as part of a draft rule to implement the national renewable fuels standard.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] single bought out Chair Collin Peterson of the Agriculture Committee in the House has been able to delay, and possibly derail the Waxman-Markey climate bill.  One part of the column which sums it up […]

    Pingback by Reforming Agriculture « The Dernogalizer — June 21, 2009 @ 2:35 pm | Reply

  2. […] posted just a couple days ago that it didn’t look like the climate bill was going to be coming to the floor for a vote until after the 4th of July […]

    Pingback by Breaking: Climate Bill Vote this Friday?? « The Dernogalizer — June 23, 2009 @ 1:08 am | Reply


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