July 26, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

House Climate Bill Facing Senate Headwinds

The agreement — laid out in a 932-page bill unveiled Friday afternoon and set to begin a multiday markup today — also cut the cap from a 20 percent emission reduction by 2020 to 17 percent, although Boucher said he hopes to relax that further to 14 percent with help from the Senate.

Renewable electricity requirements were also reduced in the bill, to 20 percent by 2020, with up to 8 percent coming from energy-efficiency standards.

Boucher, who hails from coal country, also negotiated major new incentives for retrofitting coal-fired power plants with carbon-capture technology.

But while the House has been moving quickly on its energy package under Waxman, the Senate has had difficulty getting traction on the issue.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has convened working groups on climate change, but Senate Democrats in general have been slow to form a cohesive plan for moving forward. A big part of the problem is the sheer number of committees beyond EPW with jurisdiction over the issues, including Finance; Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Energy and Natural Resources.

“In the Senate, there’s no real sense of how we’re going to do climate change,” the knowledgeable Democratic aide said.

Some said the details of the House deal are secondary to the notion that the issue now has substantial momentum.

A Democratic aide familiar with the issue noted, “The forward action and movement of a bill through the House and committee is more of a symbol to the Senate than the actual deal itself.”

Of course, the bill still must get through a markup this week and clear plenty of hurdles in the House.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) was still in negotiations with Waxman on Friday to add his legislation cracking down on energy market speculation, which he said was a requirement to get his vote.

Other committees with jurisdiction, including Agriculture, Science and Technology, and Ways and Means, also get to take a shot at the bill, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) riding herd, as she did on the 2007 energy bill.

“We’ll fashion a consensus package once the committees have all acted and hope for an extremely strong, bipartisan vote that will obviously be a message to the Senate,” a senior Democratic leadership aide said.

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