The Senate climate debate shifts into a higher gear this week as two committees will hold simultaneous hearings on climate policy. The Finance Committee will study the job implications of global warming legislation with testimony from a major labor union, economists, and the nuclear power and electric utility industry. Also the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will discuss legislation options for tackling climate change.
Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, hints that starting over with a blank piece of paper might be possible. But pressure continues to surface to do something now because of next month's U.N. climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark. But, Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., says the Senate is not ready to travel at their rate.
"We can't just sort of meet the Copenhagen deadline," Rockefeller said. "We've got to be satisfied that it's a good bill and I'm not at this point."
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is planning to meet in the next few weeks with the six committee leaders with jurisdiction over the issue: Finance Chair Max Baucus, R-Mont., Energy Chair Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Environment Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Rockefeller, Agriculture Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass. This supports Reid's earlier views that debate is almost certain to take place behind the scenes with a floor battle on hold until at least early 2010.