Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Democrats send climate bill to the floor, as House committee chairmen keep negotiating

Two House committee chairmen, one the chief sponsor of the climate-change bill and the other its biggest intraparty obstacle, have reached some sort of limited agreement that will allow the bill to get a floor vote as early as this week, "but it remains to be seen whether the measure has the votes to pass," reports Jared Allen of The Hill.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) apparently still have some things to work out. A spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an e-mail to Politico's Patrick O'Connor, "There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday." (Read more)

In an earlier feature story, Allen reported that Peterson [Getty Images photo] "is seen as someone who is finally giving voice to the voiceless – dozens of rural and middle America Democrats who feel that their interests are being ignored by an urban-minded set of leaders of Pelosi, Waxman, Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.), and even President Obama. ... Beyond climate change, Peterson has tapped into a larger well of dissent over the lack of a Democratic farm agenda, something that a large portion of the caucus – and a number of senators – are noticeably frustrated by. Peterson publicly has wondered if Obama was cool to him at an event at the White House earlier this year because of his rejection of the economic stimulus package. Peterson this year has also rejected the Democrats’ omnibus bill and voted against the tobacco prevention bill that the president signed into law on Monday." (Read more) For a profile of Peterson, from Stephen Power of The Wall Street Journal, click here.

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