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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

DC Climate Bill Update (Via 1Sky)

Jason Kowalski, a policy expert with climate advocacy group 1Sky, has an excellent and handy update on the climate bill "situation report" from DC. Here's the skinny on upcoming Senate committee timelines, political posturing from critical moderates, and how the health care debate is impacting the climate scene:

1. Timeline

Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has promised the release of her committee's discussion draft on September 8, the first day back from recess. By releasing a discussion draft after recess, EPW has the potential to positively influence other committee processes as titles get marked up before the September 28th deadline. The current schedule:

  • 8/8 - 9/7: Senate August recess;

  • 9/8: EPW discussion draft to be released;

  • 9/8 - 9/25: Committee mark-ups held;

  • 9/28: Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) mark-up deadline for all Senate Committees with climate jurisdiction.

2. EPW and Finance Committees

Aides from the EPW Committee have said that their draft of the bill will not include "detailed language" on allocations, as they may wait until the markup process before they tackle the allowance scheme (like Energy and Commerce Chairman Waxman (D-CA) did in the House).

Chairwoman Boxer is being pushed by climate champions like Sens. Sanders (I-VT), Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Whitehouse (D-RI) to strengthen short-term emissions reduction targets "beyond 17% by 2020" (in anticipation of attempts at weakening on the floor), while Sens. Carper (D-DE), Baucus (D-MT), and Specter (D-PA) want a more moderate bill from EPW. Carper has specifically said he wants a more "centrist" EPW draft.

Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has been clear that his committee will mark-up the international trade and allocations provisions of the climate bill.

3. Posturing amongst the Moderates

Senators have begun posturing in anticipation of what will take place in September. Here's a brief rundown of some public comments we've seen since ACES passed in the House:

4. How Will Healthcare Delays Affect Climate?

Though healthcare floor action has been pushed until after the August recess, climate champions are insisting they will hold a vote this year. EPW Chairwoman Boxer and Agriculture Chairman Harkin (D-IA) have promised to stay on track with their committee pieces of the bill, and Foreign Relations Chairman Kerry (D-MA) is denying that the healthcare calendar will have any effect on climate (E&E). The White House is maintaining that both agenda items are the "valued children" of the Administration, and they will continue to press Congress to pass both this year.

Read more on:

Bottom line: Wins beget wins. A win on healthcare helps raise the political capital necessary to pass a strong climate bill before Copenhagen.

Thanks to Jason and 1Sky's Rhiya Trivedi for the update. Check out the 1Sky "Skywriter" blog for frequent updates.

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