Senate Watch: Bond, Baucus, Carper, Grassley, Lincoln, Rockefeller, Udall

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 05 Aug 2009 22:37:00 GMT

Kit Bond (R-MO)

“E&E News’: Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) criticized the power companies for even trying to negotiate with congressional Democrats. Either way, he said, the electric utilities lose. “That’s bargaining with somebody on how they’re going to hang you,” Bond said. “They’ll hang you with minimal pain, or they’ll torture you to death.”

Max Baucus (D-MT)

E&E News “So let us see if we can figure out how to distribute emission allowances in a way that one might call just,” Baucus said at a hearing on allocations today. “Let us see if we can figure out how to give all Americans what they deserve.” “The House bill provided solid relief to low-income Americans through these means,” he said. “The Senate should match it, or build on it.” “I don’t want to prejudge at this point,” he said. “I just want to take a good, strong, hard, fresh look at allowances to see what makes sense. Everything can be improved upon.”

CQ “I doubt it’ll be major. There’ll be some,” Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus , D-Mont., said Tuesday, when asked about changes to the allocation formula.

WV Metro News “There are a number of ways to use allowance revenues to mitigate the cost of climate legislation on consumers and businesses,” Senator Baucus said.  “For example, Congress could use the money from auctioning allowances to cut taxes by cutting marginal rates, by cutting capital gains rates, by cutting payroll taxes or by doing all of the above.”

ENews USA He said, “Economists expect that these allowances will have a value, like cash. Thus, many argue that the government should not just give these allowances away. Many argue that the government should auction them, and return the proceeds to consumers. Others argue that the government should allocate a portion of the allowances to regulated companies. Doing so would soften the effects of putting a price on carbon.” . . . “Allowances will have significant value. In 2012, the first year of the program in the House‐passed bill, the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] puts their value at about $60 billion. For the period of 2010 to 2019, they amount to more than $870 billion.” Baucus cites the CBO which says, “[T]he creation of allowances by the government should be recorded as revenues. That logic does not hinge on whether the government sells or, instead, gives away the allowances. Allowances would have significant value even if given away because the recipients could sell them or, in the case of a covered entity, use them to avoid incurring the cost of compliance.”

Tom Carper (D-DE)

E&E News “I thought the utility industry did a great service by coming up with a compromise that all of them could live with,” he said. “Most legislators are lay people. We can’t be experts. We need for the industry to come up to us and say we think this is a fair compromise. They’ve done that. I think we should embrace it.”

Charles Grassley (R-IA)

E&E News “It is not free money,” Grassley said. “It’s a national energy tax on all Americans.”

ENews USA Ranking Member Grassley said, “The President supports 100 percent auction of allowances.”

Washington Post Even a hint of opposition to the tariff was intolerable to Mr. Grassley, so he threatened to block the Shannon nomination unless the Obama administration “clarified” its stand. No doubt mindful of Mr. Grassley’s leverage over the Senate Finance Committee’s health-care reform effort, the White House gave him what he wanted: a letter last week from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk promising “no plans” to change the tariff. Mr. Shannon’s confirmation is back on track.

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)

E&E News “Waxman-Markey picks winners and losers,” Lincoln said. “I think it’s a deeply flawed bill. I hope we’ll work hard on something that makes better sense.” “We’re hoping we’re going to be doing health care in September,” she said. “I don’t think we can do both of them.”

John Rockefeller (D-WV)

Politico “Everything is hard, everything is slow,” said West Virginia Democratic Sen. John Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “My answer to that is let’s do what we always did with [former Senate Majority Leader] George Mitchell and stay until Dec. 22. We did that every year he was majority leader.”

Tom Udall (D-NM)

KRWG “A question was asked by Senator Bingaman at the luncheon at the White House with President Obama, and he said “are we going to make a commitment to replenish the funds, because those are important, you know, and several New Mexico businesses have an opportunity to get some of those funds, for example, a solar project down in Dona Ana County.” And the president said he was putting his chief of staff on it right away, and he expected that to be done. So I feel much more comfortable about where the funding’s coming from. I’m going to be following up with the White House and working with Senator Bingaman on that.”