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Democrats On The Record on Cap and Trade Prospects for 2010
January 26, 2010

Posted by Matt Dempsey

Democrats On The Record on Cap and Trade Prospects for 2010

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.): "As Kerry noted, House members put themselves on the line when they approved a climate bill earlier this year. But the health backlash is only the latest roadblock in the Senate, and it's not at all clear that supporters will be able to clear all - or even any - of them. "It will take a lot of work," said Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). ‘We need to take a break around here and step back before we try anything of any controversy.'" (GOP warns of harsh climate on energy bill, Politico)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.): "Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said it would be good to take a break between two bills where senators have considerable differences. ‘Once health care is over, we've got to take everyone's temperature,' she said. ‘I'm pretty new but I've got to tell you, after you do one really, really big, really, really hard thing that makes everybody mad, I don't think anybody is excited about doing another really, really big thing that's really, really hard, that makes everybody mad.'" (Financial reform debate may influence future of cap and trade, E&E News)

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.): "When they do move into the environment and energy arena, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said he would prefer Congress work on a bill that he plans to introduce with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that curbs conventional air pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. Past versions of the legislation have also included a limit on carbon dioxide emissions, but Carper said he would leave that debate for later. ‘We're not going to start there,' Carper said. ‘We're going to start with three of those P's. And we'll leave the last of those out for now.'" (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&E News)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska): Begich was asked about cap-and-trade legislation to deal with climate change, and said he thought that didn't have as much momentum in Congress as it did last year. Instead, he said he would focus on good energy legislation, and noted that such a bill would address the same issues as a climate bill -- developing new energy sources and new energy production technology, and finding more efficient means of delivering energy, would in effect help to curb emissions. ‘If you get into that (climate change) debate, what's the goal? Energy," Begich said. "I think that's the better use of our time.'" (Begich: Looks to long term: Senator: Alaska needs sustainable solutions, not year-to-year deals, Peninsula Clarion)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): "‘I think it's clear from the hiatus that a large cap-and-trade bill isn't going to go ahead at this time,' said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)."

Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.): "Until that work is done, supporters of legislation in the Senate will have a hard time overcoming the objections of manufacturing-state Democrats, who don't want to see the United States commit to reducing emissions unless China is doing the same. ‘If China will not let us verify, we're going to have a heck of a time here,' said Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.). "An agreement's no good if you can't verify.'" (Copenhagen fizzle won't help bill, Politico)

Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) "Several influential Senate Democrats from around the country yesterday questioned the political wisdom of diving headfirst into a sweeping climate change and energy package when voters are more concerned about jobs and the state of the economy. From Pennsylvania to California, the senators urged President Obama to focus Congress' attention on tackling the nation's double-digit unemployment rate, otherwise they would face the same voter angst that Republican Scott Brown used to ride to victory Tuesday in the Massachusetts special election to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. "There's only so much time in a day that people can digest or get a sense what's happening in Washington," said Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa). "And if they hear, 'Big, big bill, lots of debate and controversy' and they don't hear 'jobs' and they don't hear 'short term,' we're making a mistake." (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&ENews)

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.): "Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said the substance of the ultimate global warming and energy package will make or break the bill. Still, he doubted Democrats would have the issue on their agenda at the start of the year. ‘I think that there will be a greater focus on jobs and the economy,' Levin said. ‘I don't think that means they're going to not address climate change, but I don't think it will have quite the prominence that jobs and the economy are going to have.'" (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&ENews)

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.):  "Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas said they had their doubts cap-and-trade legislation would be viable in 2010 -- even before the results of the Massachusetts special election."Cap and trade was in trouble before Senator Brown got elected," Landrieu said. ‘That was an issue that was still being hotly debated within the Democratic caucus, so there are many of us that are not yet convinced that that is the right way to go.'" (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&ENews)

Sen. Pryor (D-Ark.): "Pryor said cap and trade is not dead in 2010, but he warned that Democrats should try to keep their overall agenda simple as they start into their workload this session. ‘Last year was a very difficult year legislatively, with health care, TARP, the stimulus, with two wars,' Pryor said. ‘It's just been a hard year last year. I don't think Massachusetts changes it. But I've always had a question of whether the Senate is ready to take on a big complicated bill.'" (Senate Dems urge short-term focus on jobs, cap-and-trade delay, E&ENews)

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind):  "‘We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it's very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now,' said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economy-wide cap and trade ‘unlikely.'" (Dems to W.H.: Drop cap-and-trade Politico)

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.): "At a meeting about health care last month, moderates pushed to table climate legislation in favor of a jobs bill that would be an easier sell during the 2010 elections, according to Senate Democratic aides. ‘I'd just as soon see that set aside until we work through the economy,' said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). ‘What we don't want to do is have anything get in the way of working to resolve the problems with the economy.'" (Dems to W.H.: Drop cap-and-trade, Politico)

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.): "At least some in the Democratic leadership appear to be listening. Asked about cap-and-trade last week, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said: ‘At this point I'd like to see a complete bill but we have to be realistic.'" (Dems to W.H.: Drop cap-and-trade Politico)

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.): "Some Democrats would prefer to deny them that target. ‘I'd prefer to do energy, because I think you could get a really broad consensus on a lot of energy legislation,' said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)." (Dems to W.H.: Drop cap-and-trade Politico)

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.): "Obama's ambitious proposal for cap-and-trade carbon-emission regulation, meant to combat global climate change, now is not going anywhere this year. Cap-and-trade always faced a steep uphill climb. It would constitute as big a change in national policy as healthcare reform, maybe bigger. But lawmakers were never going to get around to considering it until after the healthcare fight was over. Retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) of North Dakota indicated Tuesday that the Senate is not likely to take up cap-and-trade at all in 2010. ‘In the aftermath of a very, very heavy lift on healthcare, it's unlikely that the Senate will turn to a very complicated and controversial subject of cap-and-trade,' Senator Dorgan told reporters." (Massachusetts Senate race results: Obama's signal that all is changed, Christian Science Monitor)

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (D-N.M.): "The chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said Tuesday that it's unclear whether Congress will be able to pass cap and trade legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions this year. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said there's no consensus on what form a cap-and-trade system would take, but strong desire exists in both the Senate and House to pass other energy-related bills that would curb pollution blamed for global warming. Bingaman said the concern is that if Congress does not move forward on cap-and-trade legislation, emission reductions will be forced by federal regulators. "That will also drive up utility rates," he said. ‘The question is what will drive up utility rates the least, so that's what we're still trying to determine...There's no simple, one solution to the problem. There's a whole range of things we need to be doing more," Bingaman said." (Bingaman: Cap and Trade Bill Unlikely This Year, AP)

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.): "'Climate change in an election year has very poor prospects,' added Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). ‘I've told that to the leadership.'" (Dems to W.H.: Drop cap-and-trade, Politico)

Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas:  "The Murkowski effort to block emission regulation has garnered 38 sponsors, including three Democrats. They are Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Lincoln, up for reelection in Arkansas and facing negative poll numbers, warned that ‘heavy-handed EPA regulation, as well as the current cap and trade bill in Congress, will cost us jobs and put us at an even greater competitive disadvantage to China, India and others.'" (Sen. Murkowski: Block regs on greenhouse gases, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.): "Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) slammed major climate legislation yesterday and sharply criticized cap and trade as a concept. The Virginia Democrat, one of a handful of potential swing voters on an ultimate global warming package, said he would not support climate legislation sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) that just passed through the Environment and Public Works Committee. Webb has criticized cap and trade before, but largely has been quiet this year about his intentions. ‘It's an enormously complex thing to implement,' said Webb at a press conference with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). ‘There are a lot of people in the middle between the 'cap' and the 'trade' that are going to make a lot of money.' ‘That piece of legislation right now is something that is going to cause a lot of people a lot of concern,' he said. His remarks are the latest blow for Democratic leaders trying to find 60 votes to push a global warming bill across the finish line in the U.S. Senate. Webb is considered one of 25 fence sitters on a climate bill in the chamber, according to an E&E analysis. Unlike Webb, Alexander is considered a "probably no" vote." (Webb blasts cap and trade, E&E News)

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