House Democrats struck a deal on climate change legislation Tuesday evening, clearing the path for final House passage on Friday.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) announced their agreement after emerging from a closed-door meeting with the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs.
You guys will be happy to know we have an agreement by now, Peterson said. We have something that I think works for agriculture.
With the support of lawmakers with farming interests, Waxman said there is now a clear consensus that the legislation has the backing of most industries and that it has the majority we need to pass.
Responded Peterson: I agree with that.
Peterson said there are still some areas that need to be resolved, but he said that agriculture-state Democrats agreed to address those issues down the road.
Negotiators overcame their biggest hurdle on the bill Tuesday night: whether the Department of Agriculture or the Environmental Protection Agency would oversee the carbon offset program.
According to the final agreement, the USDA will run the offset program and Congress will seek guidance from the Obama administration to shape the role of the EPA in determining how carbon offsets are used.
Peterson said staff will be working on final language Tuesday night in order to have a draft available to Members by Wednesday.