Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Personalities Tested on Climate Change

One aide said that in order for any final climate change bill to gain 60 votes, Boxer must acknowledge that while she may be able to move an aggressive bill through her committee, she will need to take a more moderate approach on the floor.

“On EPW, unlike Finance, there aren’t a lot of moderates,” the aide said. “But it’s clear there’s tons of moderates in the Conference.”

“When, and if, climate change gets to the floor, 20 percent isn’t the most important number, 60 is. There’s a wide variety of Democrats who want to get legislation passed, but can’t sell the current bill back home. A few changes and this thing sails, but if Boxer won’t compromise and it stays the same, it’s dead on arrival. The last thing we need is to have one more setback that could doom climate change legislation for good.”

In another wrinkle, Democrats said liberals are increasingly concerned that Baucus will handle the climate debate similar to the way he handled health care, which caused resentment from the party’s left wing.

One Democratic aide noted that Baucus’ decision to take a “black box” approach to negotiating his version of the health care bill — he huddled behind closed doors with an small bipartisan group — angered a number of the Conference’s liberals. “People were very, very frustrated,” the aide said, adding that it may not be viable for Baucus to take the same sort of approach to the climate bill.

But despite those concerns, Democrats said they are still optimistic that differences between the party’s two ends — and between Boxer and Baucus — can be worked out on President Barack Obama’s No. 2 domestic issue.

“If we can’t get it together completely in the committee, I’m confident we can get it together on the floor,” said Carper, who serves on both the Finance and EPW committees.

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