Senate Moderates Look to House Democrats for Advice on Moving Climate Bill

Posted July 14, 2009 at 4:24pm

Senate Democratic moderates, led by Sen. Tom Carper (Del.), huddled Tuesday with a group of House Democrats to get advice on how to advance climate change legislation in their chamber.The issue has stalled in the Senate as Midwestern Democrats voice concerns that the House-passed bill will hurt manufacturing- and coal-dependent areas that are already struggling. A climate change bill narrowly cleared the House last month.So on Tuesday, Carper organized an hour-long meeting between moderate Senate Democrats and a handful of House lawmakers who played a key role in passing House climate change legislation last month: Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.). Boucher said House lawmakers briefed the group on “provisions of the bill that enabled us to get broad support— across different factions of Democrats and from within various industries. Senate Democrats raised concerns that were similar to those raised during House debate on the bill, Boucher said. They included questions about the affordability of electricity rates and how the legislation protects U.S. jobs given that developing countries have different standards for carbon dioxide emissions.Cost was also discussed. Carper pointed to a new Congressional Budget Office estimate that the House climate change bill will cost $170 per family per year.Also Tuesday, during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, Carper stressed that transportation must be part of climate change legislation.“By incorporating transportation provisions in the next climate bill, we have the chance to start addressing many problems at once by generating more funding for transportation infrastructure, building more money-saving transportation alternatives and lowering greenhouse gas emissions,— Carper said in a statement.Carper pointed to legislation he has introduced aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing Americans with lower-carbon transportation alternatives.