The pair, meanwhile, have been negotiating so far without success with a number of conservative Democrats led by Rep. Rick Boucher (Va.) demanding carve-outs for various industries in their districts including owners of coal power plants, steel manufacturers, oil refineries, auto manufacturers and the like.
Satisfying all of their demands, while keeping intact the guts of a bill that will slash emissions and be acceptable to the environmental community, is a tall order.
Thats whats holding up the bill right now everybody has their parochial interests they want addressed, an aide to a Democrat on the committee said.
Waxman said he remains flexible, but only up to a point.
I feel strongly about not opening the goals and timetables in the bill, Waxman said, which includes a 20 percent reduction in emissions by 2020.
Other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Waxman, other Democratic leaders have been hedging on cap-and-trade. Hoyer has left open the possibility of moving an energy bill without cap-and-trade, Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) has suggested the timing will slip behind health care, Van Hollen urged caution and Clyburn has been looking to weaken the renewable electricity requirements given that nuclear power is not included.
Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) acknowledged that the issue has been discussed over and over again at leadership meetings. Some have suggested that thats too large a legislative lift to accomplish with the challenge we have ahead with universal health care, troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the budget, and dealing with the financial crisis, Conyers said.
It is not my view that all those things can happen, he said, adding that there is a great deal of tension back and forth in the meetings.
There are strongly held opinions and numerous voices on all sides, he said. We may have to hold off.