White House insists climate bill isn’t dead

Lisa Lerer
January 27, 2010

The top White House climate adviser pushed back against reports that a climate bill would be scaled back — but shied away from giving an exact time frame for when the Senate should take up the legislation.


“I think predictions about when something is going to happen in the legislative process are very, very hard to make you have to just continue working at it,” Carol Browner told an audience assembled for a climate and energy forum. “We’re encouraged by what we are seeing, and we’re going to continue working at it.”

The contentious health care debate and loss of a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate has raised questions about whether Congress would be able to take up a climate bill this spring.

Moderate Democrats are pushing to take up an energy-only bill — and drop the controversial economy-wide cap-and-trade system that environmentalists believe is the heart of the legislation. The economy-wide proposal would limit greenhouse gases across the economy and create a system for industrial polluters to trade emissions credits.

Browner said the White House remains committed to passing a comprehensive bill and has been heartened by the support of business, labor and environmental leaders for a cap-and-trade proposal.

“The best way to give the rules of the road is to pass comprehensive energy legislation, and we’re going to continue to work towards that,” she said. “Everyone is headed in the same direction.”

The three leaders of the effort in the Senate — Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) — are searching for a legislative compromise that would satisfy both skittish moderates and more liberal Democrats.

The article continues at Politico.com

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