Senate Watch, Senate Under Pressure: Cardin, Carper, Durbin, Inhofe, Kerry, Lautenberg, Lugar, McCain, Murkowski, Nelson, Warner, Whitehouse

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 23 Sep 2009 11:36:00 GMT

“Sometimes in this country the greatest deliberative body in the world acts as though it is the only deliberative body in the world, and that we should wait until it gets its healthcare passed,” the EU’s ambassador to the US, John Bruton, has complained. “The world cannot wait on the Senate’s timetable.”

Ben Cardin (D-MD)

E&E News “We’re not at 60 votes yet. But there are a lot of potential senators who could be part of that 60.” “We think we can get Republican support for this bill. Not just one senator, but several.” “It’s not easy to predict how we’ll complete the work this year. But we’re making every effort to get it done this year. We’re certainly working toward concrete progress before the Copenhagen meetings. I think we’re clearly working with the goal of action this year.”

Tom Carper (D-DE)

Tom Carper “We always talk about silver linings. The fact we’ve slowed down on health care I think gives us a chance to do a better job on the clean energy front. We need to take advantage of that.”

Dick Durbin (D-IL)

The Hill “I wish we could have done everything we had to do by now, but it just takes time. It’s a new president, a new Congress and a big agenda. It just takes time.”

Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

USA Today If the deal making in Copenhagen leads to a new pact that would harm the U.S. economy, “no such treaty or agreement can be approved by the Senate,” says Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

John Kerry (D-MA)

E&E News Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), Boxer’s lead co-pilot in writing the climate bill, said that the authors are in talks with their fellow Democrats on carbon market oversight, as well as funding for clean coal technology, other low-carbon energy technologies and adaptation. “There are a lot of different pieces,” Kerry said. Asked how often he is counting votes, Kerry replied, “Every day.”

The Hill “The U.S. has been dragging its feet for eight years.”

Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)

E&E News As for specifics, Boxer had been under pressure from her left to ramp up the House-passed bill’s 2020 target from 17 percent to 20 percent. “I don’t have to prevail on Senator Boxer,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). “She knows what’s right.” “I’m feeling pretty good about the tactics, the strategy, that as much as possible, we’d like it to include Republicans. The one thing I believe, bipartisanship is a means, not an ends.”

Dick Lugar (R-IN)

The Hill “I don’t know that we’ve pulled back. It’s just the formulation from the House I find objectionable on many grounds. Without jumping up and down any further, I think more constructive ways of fighting climate change can be found and I’ll be working to find it.”

John McCain (R-AZ)

E&E News When asked about Bruton’s criticism, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shot back, “Well, I don’t think there are 10 Americans that know who he is.”

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Washington Post “I believe very strongly that action on climate change has to include meaningful reductions. We have also got to make sure that we don’t kick the economy in the head.”

The Hill “There are some who are saying that we have to hurry up and do it yesterday because Copenhagen is coming. This is a serious enough issue that we must take the time to do it right.”

Ben Nelson (D-NE)

E&E News “The alphabet agencies are not the fourth branch of government, and they ought to take judicial notice of what’s happening and what’s not happening in the Senate,” Nelson said last week when asked about the prospect of EPA climate regulations.

The Hill Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who opposed a global warming bill creating a cap-and-trade system last year, said he doesn’t pay much attention to what people from other countries say about the Senate. “We’re going to do it the way we think it’s appropriate to do it. And we will not be driven by their criticisms.”

Mark Warner (D-VA)

The Hill “I’m not sure that the Senate is going to be dictated by the timing in December. It would be helpful to go to that very important meeting with legislation, but I’m not sure people are going to feel comfortable rushing it.”

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

The Hill Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said the EU is right to blame the Senate for blocking long-needed action. “Partly, it’s the fact that healthcare is crowding everything else out, but it’s also partly because the polluting industries see the Senate as a place where they can hold 40 votes,” Whitehouse said.

Senate Watch, China: Bayh, Bond, Boxer, Graham, Kaufman, Kerry, Lieberman, McCain

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 23 Sep 2009 10:45:00 GMT

At the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, president Hu Jintao announced China would make “notable” reductions in carbon intensity while generating 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. E&E News asked senators for their responses.

Evan Bayh (D-IN)

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) said he had not yet seen the details. “But that’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “Clearly, the major economies are going to need to do this in concert. And it’ll be difficult for us to act unless the Chinese and the Indians are willing to make commitments that will actually solve this problem. So it’s a good sign. I’ll be interested to know the magnitude of it and whether it suggests further progress or whether it’s just symbolic.”

Kit Bond (R-MO)

“I want to see what the details are. It’s a target. Is it enforceable? . . . These are ministers, vice ministers and the commerce and environmental protection agency. They said they’re not going to do anything that’s going to stifle the growth of the economy—that they need to put all the people back to work.”

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

“The more that other countries pledge to cut their carbon and to protect their own people from pollution, it helps us greatly.”

Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

“That’s encouraging. That will help us make decisions on our emission problems.”

Ted Kaufman (D-DE)

Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), a member of Kerry’s Foreign Relations Committee, said China’s decision was a clear signal to U.S. businesses. “The difference here is, they’ve figured out it’s in their economic interest to be involved in this,” Kaufman said. “This is one pledge that they’re going to deliver on.”

Joe Lieberman (I-CT)

The Hill Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who is working with McCain and other centrist senators to find broad support for a climate change bill, said that Hu’s commitment to targets was “a very significant and encouraging step.” “No question there’s a certain amount of people here who will not take on the responsibility that we have to take on to do things to deal with climate change unless China also does,” said Lieberman, whose bipartisan group is looking at ways to increase U.S. nuclear power.

John Kerry (D-MA)

“I think anything China does, if it’s constructive and fixed and measurable, and ascertainable, it’ll be very helpful, absolutely.”

John McCain (R-AZ)

“We’ll see the details. They’ve made similar commitments in the past but haven’t kept them.”

WonkLine: June 5, 2009

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 05 Jun 2009 13:10:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

The New York Times reports that “cows at 15 farms across Vermont have had their grain feed adjusted to include more plants” instead of corn and soy, reducing their enteric methane emissions (burps) by 18 percent, without any loss in milk production.

President Obama may attend world climate talks in Copenhagen this December, marking the first visit to the annual U.N. conference by a sitting U.S. president since George H.W. Bush’s 1992 trip to Rio de Janeiro,” according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

The Washington Post finds that “corporate lobbyists have won billions of dollars of subsidies in the Waxman-Markey green economy legislation, including $500 billion for electric utilities and $12 billion for the auto industry.

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