More climate huddling
By Juliet Eilperin
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met Wednesday afternoon with several key committee chairs and White House staff to discuss how to proceed with climate legislation--and the plan is there's still no definite plan, beyond more closed-door negotiations.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) gave an overview of the draft climate and energy bill he's been sketching out along with Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman, according to sources familiar with the meeting, and said he could share more when a final draft text is done in early to mid-April. Obama climate czar Carol Browner and White House congressional liaison Phil Schiliro, who attended the session, said they would be happy to work with all the relevant chairs, including those from the Agriculture; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Energy and Natural Resources; Environment and Public Works; and Finance committees.
Reid told the assembled senators that they should provide the climate troika with feedback within a few weeks of receiving the draft text, sources said, and in the words of one Senate aide who asked not to be identified, "Several senators expressed hope that more Republican senators would start to publicly support and engage in the process soon."
In the meantime, Kerry, Graham and Liebermen met with freshmen Democrats Wednesday evening about their proposal. And on Thursday afternoon they've got a meeting lined up with officials from several industries affected by the bill.
And as if Browner didn't have enough heavy lifting in front of her, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter to White House counsel Robert Bauer questioning whether the climate czar violated the Presidential Records Act by striking a "secret deal" with auto manufacturers on regulations for greenhouse gas emissions.
Browner declined to comment on the letter, which suggested she may possibly be guilty of "deliberately violating the law" and "pay-for-play strong arm tactics."
Juliet Eilperin| March 24, 2010; 6:48 PM ET Save & Share:
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