It was a tight climate change vote in the House and things aren't expected to be any easier in the Senate. But despite the tough fight they know lies ahead Democratic leaders are moving forward with Environment Committee Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., expected to kick off hearings on climate change legislation Tuesday. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will all testify during that hearing. Boxer reportedly intends to mark up legislation modeled on the House bill in her committee before the August recess. Other committees that may have jurisdiction, including Agriculture, have been given a Sept. 18 deadline by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to complete their markups.
Senate Democrats who have made climate legislation a top priority may have learned something from the House. They're building a legislative strategy that focuses on reaching out to key moderates whose votes are essential to reaching the 60-vote filibuster proof majority needed to get the bill through the Senate. According to a report in the New York Times currently the legislation has support of only 45 Democrats and no Republicans.