Harry Reid has a draft of a climate and energy bill that he plans to bring to the Senate floor within a couple weeks, the Majority Leader said. That would begin the climate debate right around the end of the July work period, so I don’t know what that means for pushing back the deadline on the August recess (it could mean that Reid just wants a vote to highlight GOP obstructionism). But that’s the schedule Sen. Reid laid out.
“Whatever I bring to the floor, I want to get 60 votes,” Reid told POLITICO shortly after announcing his strategy for a full Senate debate as early as the week of July 26.
Reid confirmed the bill will have four parts: an oil spill response; a clean-energy and job-creation title based on work done in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; a tax package from the Senate Finance Committee; and a section that deals with greenhouse gas emissions from the electric utility industry.
“In this stage, we’ve not completed it. But we’re looking at a way that’s making sure when we talk about pollution, it’ll focus just on the utility sector,” Reid said.
So you’re talking about Robert Menendez’ liability cap lifting and some other legislation (I’d expect some revenue generation here in the form of a per-barrel fee on oil extraction for an oil spill fund), Jeff Bingaman’s horrid ACELA bill (at the least, that had better have a much better renewable energy standard), a “tax package” which presumably includes the tax breaks for clean energy President Obama called for in Nevada last week, and a utility-only cap. According to a discussion draft of the Bingaman bill which incorporates a utility-only cap, the targets would be a 17% reduction from 2005 levels of carbon emissions by 2020, and 43% by 2030. But he doesn’t expect to submit that bill unless it has 60 votes, and he doesn’t feel particularly interested in working to get 60 votes.
John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have a new draft as well of a scaled-back bill, which would only cap utilities. So Reid has a lot of different sources to draw from, and the resultant bill could end up decent or really terrible.
And just so you know, here’s Reid on the meaning of a utility-only cap:
When pressed to specify whether the Senate would seek a “cap on utility carbon emissions,” Reid responded, “Those words are not in my vocabulary….we’re going to work on pollution.”
What does he mean by pollution? “It means there’s bad stuff in the air,” Reid responded, declining to provide further details.
Bad stuff in the air, no! It’s not the stuff of sloganeering.