Senate Watch, Moving Slowly: Barrasso, Baucus, Boxer, Durbin, Kerry, McCain, Reid 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 23 Sep 2009 13:41:00 GMT

Speaking at the United Nations Climate Summit, President Barack Obama said “the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.” E&E News interviewed Senators on their schedule for action.

John Barrasso (R-WY)

“Nearly 1 in 10 Americans are looking for work. President Obama’s scheme is for less American energy production. Less energy production will mean fewer jobs for Americans.”

Max Baucus (D-MT)

Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) also said yesterday that he is still planning a markup for key pieces of the climate bill that deal with international trade and allocation of allowances. “I’m going to take my cues largely from leader Reid to see what his schedule is, and how quickly climate change is moving this year. If it looks like it’s clearly moving, we’re going to mark up.”

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

For her part, Boxer would not give any specifics when asked about her timeline for moving the bill through the Environment and Public Works Committee. “We’re going to mark up shortly. As soon as we’ve held the requisite number of hearings.”

Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was also circumspect about Obama’s call for moving the climate bill. “I want to get to all of these issues this year, as the president has asked us to. But I think Senator Reid is reflecting the reality of the calendar, and we just have to see what we end up with. Senator Boxer is preparing for the debate. She’s ready. But the question is whether we have the time to treat this issue as it should.” “The Europeans are our friends and allies and we need to work with them and the rest of the world on this climate change issue. But unfortunately, the European Union doesn’t have control over the Senate calendar. And Senator Reid, I think, is being honest that this is becoming problematic the longer it takes for us to get to health care.”

John Kerry (D-MA)

Boxer and Kerry are still aiming to release their legislation before the end of the month, though Kerry yesterday tried to give himself a little bit of wiggle room for its formal unveiling. “That’s our current plan. But we’ve got a lot of drafting to do between now and then. But we’re working on it.”

John McCain (R-AZ)

“I’ll take second place to no one on climate change. I introduced the first cap-and-trade bill on the Senate floor. I introduced the second. All of them had nuclear power as a component. The radical environmentalists are driving the agenda. And for someone to say that they have a robust nuclear element, I’d love to see it. There’s been no indication of it.”

Harry Reid (D-NV)

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) yesterday sidestepped a question about whether he would hold a vote before the end of the year on the Boxer-Kerry legislation. “We’re going to push climate as hard and as fast as we can.”

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