House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Congress should employ an all of the above strategy on energy legislation this year, but he discounted capping carbon emissions and creating a system of tradable emission credits as a valid approach. The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical, the Republican leader said during an appearance Sunday on ABCs This Week.When pressed on whether he believed carbon emissions cause environmental problems, Boehner said, I think it is an issue. The question is, what is the proper answer and the responsible answer?When it comes to the issue of climate change, its pretty clear that if we dont work with other industrialized nations around the world, whats going to happen is that were going to ship millions of American jobs overseas, Boehner said. A carbon cap-and-trade program which has strong advocates in the White House and among Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill is widely panned by Republicans, who say it would raise taxes and utility bills for consumers. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, also appearing on This Week, predicted Congress would pass energy and health care bills this year and called on Republicans to participate in the debate.When youre the party of no ideas, thats not constructive, said Emanuel, a former House Member from Illinois and former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The challenge will be, will Republicans come to the table with constructive ideas?Emanuel also predicted the Obama administration will not seek further bailouts for the banking industry.I believe we will not have to deal with nationalization, and thats not the goal, nor do we think thats the right policy objectives here, Emanuel said, adding that results from a forthcoming economic stress test will ultimately decide whether the administration will seek additional rescue funds. Adding to a hefty list of priorities that includes health care and energy, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) called on Congress to take up immigration reform this year. This is a very complicated issue, and we need to get it right, the Republican Policy Committee chairman said during an appearance on CNNs State of the Union.Ensign maintained that any immigration package should include the online e-verify system that allows participating employers to check the work status of new hires. The program is controversial among unions and minority groups that argue it would unfairly push workers out of their jobs.The former National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman offered encouraging words to former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who is challenging the court decision last week that declared Democrat Al Franken the winner in Novembers election.Norm Coleman has some very legitimate issues, [and] his appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court should be heard, Ensign said.Appearing on the same program, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who has served as the Gopher States sole Senator since November, predicted the five-month recount would be settled by Memorial Day.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.