More Senate Democrats Seek House Guidance on Climate Change

Posted July 17, 2009 at 2:54pm

Senate Democrats are increasingly looking to their House counterparts for guidance on how to move climate change legislation through their chamber.Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) said Friday that Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have separately asked to meet with him next week for advice on the issue. Their requests come just three days after Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), along with a dozen Senate Democratic moderates, arranged a meeting with Boucher and other leading House Democrats to talk about how to reach consensus on climate change matters. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) were also in the hourlong meeting.Boucher said Senators asked questions about issues related to the affordability of electricity rates and how to protect U.S. jobs given that developing countries have different standards for carbon dioxide emissions. Costs were also discussed.The issue has stalled in the Senate as Midwestern Democrats voice concerns that House-passed legislation will hurt manufacturing- and coal-dependent areas that are already struggling. That bill narrowly cleared the House last month.Regardless of whether Carper calls him into another meeting with Senate moderates, Boucher said he expects more questions from the Senate as time goes on.“If moderates are united and seek common principles on greenhouse gas emissions, they can have a tremendous impact on the final product. They control a lot of votes,— the Virginia Democrat said. Boucher encouraged Senate Democrats to use the House as a resource on the issue because “we’ve done our homework,— which includes more than 30 days of hearings and more than two years of work with industry and lobby groups.He conceded that it is rare that the Senate looks to the House for help on anything. Asked if it feels good to be needed by the Senate, Boucher added, “It does, as a matter of fact.—