Rangel Wants Health Care Before Climate Change

Posted May 20, 2009 at 5:49pm

House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that his committee will act on health care before moving to climate change legislation, and he is keeping on the table the possibility of enacting a carbon tax instead of the cap-and-trade proposal written by Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).“Health care is first and is the priority,— Rangel told reporters.Rangel said he wasn’t taking off the table alternatives to cap-and-trade such as a carbon tax, and he appeared to zealously guard his powerful committee’s jurisdiction over raising and spending money.“Our committee collects money and distributes money, that’s what we do,— he said. “Planting trees is one thing, giving out money is another.—Waxman, who also has jurisdiction over health care, had set cap-and-trade as the first priority, but now faces a potential speed bump in his fellow chairman. The intricately negotiated compromise that Waxman and Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) secured with his committee’s moderate Democrats — which includes promises of tax rebates to the poor and others —could ultimately be rewritten. Waxman, however, said any hype about Rangel’s remarks would amount to “press looking for a daily story to jump on— and said he had “confidence we’ll work it out.—Tory Newmyer contributed to this report.