Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, says she has received notification of what she calls a game changer. In a letter to the Senator, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it believes climate change is an important issue for this Congress to address. The Chamber said it stands ready to work with Congress to resolve this issue in a bipartisan manner.
Earlier, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it could not support climate change legislation. As a result it had come under fire from environmentalists and a number of its own members. The Chamber of Commerce said it would like to see the conversation fall in line with legislation outlined by Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., and Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. Their legislation would include a market-based solution to cut greenhouse gases. That solution would provide flexibility to emitters without hindering competitiveness or driving jobs overseas.
Senators Kerry, Graham and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., say they will work with business groups and the White House to forge a compromise climate measure that could get 60 votes in the Senate. These negotiations would be separate from the work that six different Senate committees are doing on climate legislation.
Kerry said the senators are not circumventing the committee process or ignoring the bill being marked up, which bears his name. Kerry says they are going to take the best of the bill the committee produces, and build on it.
In other action on climate change, Senators Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Max Baucus, D-Mont., along with several other co-sponsors introduced legislation establishing an agricultural offset program very similar to the amendment put forward by Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., which was adopted by the House this summer.
The legislation drew praise as a positive step forward from both National Corn Growers Association President Darrin Ihnen and National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson.
"NFU strongly believes a legislative solution, rather than EPA regulation, is the best means to address climate change," Johnson said. "We are committed to working with Senator Stabenow, the Senate Agriculture Committee and members of the Senate to craft positive climate change legislation."