Senate Watch: Barrasso, Bingaman, Boxer, Brown, Carper, Dorgan, Durbin, Johanns, Kerry, McCain, McCaskill, Merkley, Nelson, Reid, Roberts, Voinovich

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 21 Jul 2009 19:20:00 GMT

John Barrasso (R-WY)

E&E News “Last year, the committee produced a bill, got to the floor, never got anywhere,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a member of the EPW Committee. “I’m expecting the same thing this year.”

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

E&E News Earlier this year, Bingaman said he would rather see the Senate tackle energy on its own and then come back to climate. Bingaman last week was not as specific, saying that that “there are a lot of complex questions that obviously are raised by cap-and-trade proposals.” “We’re still in a learning process in most committees,” he added. . . “I assume [Reid]’s waiting to see what the various committees come up with before he makes any judgment,” Bingaman said. “He’s got a difficult job packaging it all up and figuring what the procedure ought to be that gets us to a positive conclusion.”

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

E&E News “To me, the more committees that are involved, the happier I am, because you get more and more colleagues that get to understand it, that get to be part of it,” Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters last week. “The more colleagues that play a role, the better.” . . . “I am going to have to walk away from some things I believe should be in the bill,” she said.

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Roll Call Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has been pressing to make sure the measure won’t create an incentive for manufacturing companies to move jobs overseas to China or India. Brown said he hasn’t gotten much traction in his push for trade protections, but he predicted that top negotiators could not afford to ignore him. “They don’t likely get a bill if they don’t deal with manufacturing,” he said.

Tom Carper (D-DE)

E&E News Yet other Democrats on the committee, including Baucus and Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), will push Boxer toward the middle. “My hope is the legislation when it leaves our committee will be centrist,” Carper said.

Byron Dorgan (D-ND)

E&E News Moments after hosting a DPC luncheon with three corporate executives who support cap-and-trade legislation last week, Dorgan took to the floor for about 10 minutes to question efforts in the Senate to move on climate via the House-passed bill. “I know a lot of work has gone into that legislation, but my preference would be that we start to explore other directions,” Dorgan said, citing concerns about speculative trading in the carbon markets.

Roll Call “I am for a low-carbon future,” Dorgan said. “But, in my judgment, those that would bring to the floor of the Senate a replication of what has been done in the House, with over 400 pages describing the cap-and-trade piece, will find very little favor from me, and I expect from some others as well. There are better, other and more direct ways to do this to protect our planet.”

Dick Durbin (D-IL)

E&E News There is no guarantee that the committee work will actually lead to the 60 votes needed to defeat an expected Republican filibuster. For instance, things have not gone as smoothly as Democrats hoped on health care, another of President Obama’s top agenda items. “I hope it’ll make them more open to a solution,” said Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “It hasn’t worked that way on health care. Not yet.”

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

McCook Gazette Sen. Mike Johanns spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the impact cap-and-trade legislation would have on American agriculture. In advance of a hearing to be held on Wednesday in the Senate Agriculture Committee, Johanns outlined how agriculture will be hammered with increased production costs as a result of cap-and-trade. He reiterated that state- and commodity-specific analyses of cap-and-trade are essential for a successful evaluation of the true costs and Administration-promised benefits.

John Kerry (D-MA)

E&E News “I’m finding there’s a desire by the people we’re talking to to want to find a solution,” Kerry told reporters last week, citing meetings he has held with Brown, Lincoln, Pryor and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).

John McCain (R-AZ)

Roll Call Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who promised to enact global warming legislation during his 2008 presidential campaign, said none of the principal Democratic negotiators on climate change has reached out to him. He noted he is working, as he did last year, with Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on a climate change bill. “I have not lost my zeal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “But I don’t think [Democratic leaders] have any Republicans.”

Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

Roll Call “Right now we’re focused on health care, and no one wants to think about the next big hard thing until we finish this big hard thing,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said. She joked that the success of a climate bill could “depend on if we’re still speaking to each other after health care.”

Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

E&E News “There is a tremendous amount of sequestering potential, but we have to have it work,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). “It has to have a high level of integrity, if there is too much of a loophole it will be irrelevant and ineffective.”

Ben Nelson (D-NE)

Roll Call Still, Democrats said the bare majority that House leaders eked out for their bill last month has many worried about the ability of Senate Democrats to cobble together the 60 votes needed to beat back a filibuster. “If they had a close vote in the House, it makes it more difficult in the Senate to get us to 60 votes,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), whose vote Democratic leaders will have to court.

Harry Reid (D-NV)

E&E News Back across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be in position by late September to work through all of the different climate bills that clear the committees. At that point, he plans to open up his door to lawmakers who still have concerns and demands, following a pattern many remember in 1990 when then Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) helped construct the last major set of Clean Air Act amendments. “That’s what my responsibility is, so that’s what I have to do.” Reid told E&E last week. . . Asked about the path to 60 votes, Reid acknowledged he will have plenty of work to do at every stage of the process. “I’ve got six chairmen to deal with for beginners,” he said.

Pat Roberts (R-KS)

E&E News Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), a member of the Agriculture Committee, urged Harkin and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to play an even greater role in slowing down the climate bill compared with the House, where Peterson raised objections but ultimately went along for the ride. “I hope that both he [Harkin] and Saxby take the climate change bill by the horns and corral it,” Roberts said.

George Voinovich (R-OH)

E&E News “If you just go through the members of the committee, and you figure it out, all of them are going to have some major problems,” said Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio). “So they’re going to have to try and satisfy them. And in the process of trying to satisfy them, they’re going to lose support from the environmental groups that want us to throw the gauntlet down and take a leadership role.”

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

E&E News On the surface, Boxer’s EPW Committee would appear to be a cake walk for moving a climate bill. “We have a pretty distinct majority, so if we can’t, shame on us,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), referring to his party’s 12-7 edge in the committee. On her left, Boxer is hearing demands from Whitehouse and Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) to tighten up the emission limits beyond the House-passed bill’s 17 percent target for 2020. “Anything we can’t do goes off the table,” Whitehouse said last week. “The move on the Senate floor will be rightward. And therefore, we’ve got to do our job to keep as many possibilities open for the floor as possible.”