Contact: Matt Dempsey

Democrats Feel the Heat From the Heartland, Push Back Timeline on Global Warming Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today commented on the announcement that Senate Democrats will push back their timeline on climate legislation.

"A firestorm of opposition arose from across the country this week as Democrats kicked-off debate on global warming legislation," Senator Inhofe said. "There is no question that the American public flatly rejected the House ramming through legislation that would have devastating impacts on American consumers. And, as EPA Administrator Jackson admitted this week, cap-and-trade without China and India will do nothing to affect climate-it will, however, ship jobs to China and India, which this week unequivocally rejected carbon controls on their economies."

"So with this delay, the public should expect more arm-twisting and backroom deals - or, in other words, more business as usual in Washington. The American public can rest assured that I will be here, as I have done over the past 10 years, to expose the details of this devastating bill every step of the way."

Democrats Push Back Deadlines as Number of Senators Express "Deep Concerns" with House Bill

Reid pushes back deadline for committee action to Sept. 28, Greenwire, July 9, 2009 - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has bumped back the deadline until Sept. 28 for the six committees working on a comprehensive climate change and energy bill."This was always going to be a huge undertaking," Reid spokesman Jim Manley told reporters yesterday following a meeting in the Capitol with the Senate committee leaders and President Obama's top energy adviser, Carol Browner. "The timeline has shifted slightly, to get them more involved."... Aides to EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said earlier this week that she plans to release legislative text on the core pieces of a climate package within the next two weeks, with a markup penciled in for either the last week of this month or early August. But a senior Democratic member of the EPW panel said yesterday that he is not sure Boxer should move so quickly. "I just don't know if it would work," said Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who sits on the EPW panel. "I wish her well. But I think circumstances are going to make that difficult."

Byrd Blasts ‘Cap and Trade' The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register, July 8, 2009 -WHEELING - He is not yet back to work in the Senate chamber, but U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd is opposing "cap and trade" legislation pushed by the Obama administration. The 91-year-old Byrd, D-W.Va., was released from an unidentified Washington, D.C. hospital last week after a month-long stay for a staph infection. He expects to return to the chamber before the Senate begins debate on "cap and trade" - which is tentatively set for this fall, according to Byrd's office. "I cannot support the House bill in its present form," Byrd said in a statement. "I continue to believe that clean coal can be a 'green' energy. Those of us who understand coal's great potential in our quest for energy independence must continue to work diligently in shaping a climate bill that will ensure access to affordable energy for West Virginians. I remain bullish about the future of coal, and am so very proud of the miners who labor and toil in the coalfields of West Virginia."

McCaskill says House climate bill will sink in Senate, Grist, July 8, 2009 - Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) doesn't think that the climate and energy bill that passed the House last month stands much of a chance inthe Senate...She also said she would not vote for the climate bill that the Senate rejected last year, nor would she vote for the House bill (Waxman-Markey) as it stands. "If there is going to be enough support for the bill, it will be a very gradual implementation as we move toward changing to wind and solar and other kinds of energy," said McCaskill. "I'm going to be one of those trying to craft it in a way that is very gradual, that is not going to hurt a state like Missouri that is so coal dependent." She said she will probably make those on the left and right angry in this debate, and will be "working with a group of moderates in the middle" to shape the Senate bill...."We need to be a leader in the world but we don't want to be a sucker," she said. "And if we go too far with this, all we're going to do is chase more jobs to China and India, where they've been putting up coal-fired plants every 10 minutes."McCaskill has also expressed concerns about the House bill via Twitter, where she posted during the debate, "I hope we can fix cap and trade so it doesn't unfairly punish businesses and families in coal dependent states like Missouri."

McCain: "A 1,400-page monstrosity" Senate Democrats also must deal with Republicans who are itching for a fight on the climate bill, especially if it sticks closely to the House-passed measure. "A 1,400-page monstrosity," was how Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a longtime supporter of cap-and-trade legislation, described the House bill yesterday.

"Absolutely and adamantly opposed to cap and trade," Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who supported a nationwide renewable electricity standard in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he would not support a larger climate bill. "Absolutely and adamantly opposed to cap and trade," he said. "It's one of the worst ideas I can imagine you can force on the economy at this point in time."

Lincoln said this week that she has "great concerns" with how the bill would affect Arkansas -- noting that her commitment is to represent the people of her state, not necessarily to help the caucus get to 60 votes. "I have great concerns with what the House has done, but I haven't seen it on this side," Lincoln said.

Conrad: "Lots of Concerns" - Meanwhile, Conrad said he has started to meet with key members of the EPW Committee in an attempt to make sure agricultural concerns are addressed early on -- not late in the negotiation stages as they were in the House. The Budget Committee chairman is a key voice for agricultural interests -- he showed himself a tough negotiator on the farm bill and frequently got his way on provisions large and small. Conrad said this week he wants the Senate climate bill to include something "very much on the same lines" as Peterson's amendments in the House. But even with those farm-friendly provisions, Conrad said he is still on the fence about the bill -- since he must also think about his state as the nation's fifth-largest oil producer and a major consumer of coal for electricity. He said more allocations or offsets might help encourage him to vote for the measure. "In North Dakota we have more than agriculture concerns, we're a major energy state as well," Conrad said. "So we've got a lot of concerns ... they've certainly improved substantially from where it was last year by what they did in the House, but it has a ways to go before I can vote for it."

Sen Nelson (D-Neb): "have to ensure it does not raise utilities rates or include "anything that would adversely impact agriculture."  - And Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said that to win his support, the bill will have to ensure it does not raise utilities rates or include "anything that would adversely impact agriculture." He said he has discussed the bill with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and passed on some of his concerns to Boxer.

Senator Jay Rockefeller "serious concerns" - Jessica Tice, Rockefeller's state press secretary, said the senator "followed the process in the House on the climate change legislation very closely" and "continues to have serious concerns about the House bill." Tice also said Rockefeller will "continue working with his colleagues to make sure West Virginia's interests are represented." Protestors gathered at the conference Tuesday said the bill's "cap and trade" concept is misleading and will only drive up costs for Americans.

Senator Lugar  "I'd not be able to support that legislation." - Lugar, a longtime sponsor of nonbinding Senate resolutions urging action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, said yesterday that the House bill does not meet his satisfaction. "I'd not be able to support that legislation," he said. "Trying to describe the changes would need a catalogue." But Lugar also said he would be following the Senate committee debate closely. "I hope they'll be more successful," he added. "But it appears to me initially that the House bill will not make very much difference in terms of the carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. It's an extraordinarily expensive bill at a time when our budget situation, the deficits we're running, is already threatening potential inflation."