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Kerry, Graham, Lieberman announce a "dual track" on the climate bill

By David A. Fahrenthold
Even before a Senate committee could begin marking up the "Kerry-Boxer" climate bill, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) himself announced a new "track" of negotiations over climate policy that makes his original bill look somewhat irrelevant.

Kerry, appearing at the U.S. Capitol with Sens. Lindsay O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), said the three legislators would work with business groups and the White House to forge a compromise climate measure that could get 60 votes in the Senate.

These negotiations would be separate from the work that six different Senate committees are doing on climate legislation, including the markup that the Environment and Public Works committee was supposed to begin Tuesday, the senators said. Republican committee members, demanding more Environmental Protection Agency analysis of the bill's impacts, are boycotting that markup, so progress on the legislation has stalled.

Kerry said that the senators were not circumventing that committee's process or ignoring the bill being marked up -- which bears his name, along with that of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). "We're going to take the best [of the bill the committee produces], and we're going to build on it," he said.

Kerry gave few details about when he and the other senators would be done with their work. "When and how it becomes a piece of legislation will be determined by Harry Reid," he said.

The idea that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would meld the various climate proposals into a single bill is not a new one: with six committees working on related bills, Democrats have long said that someone would have to stitch them all together. But Wednesday's announcement was an early, and stark, signal that the committee bills would not be the only things shaping the final product.

Kerry, Graham and Lieberman offered few details about the elements of a climate bill they considered non-negotiable. Graham said that the bill should protect the climate, but also allow for more offshore drilling, an expansion of nuclear energy and an emphasis on "clean coal" technology. Asked if the group was committed to a "cap and trade" scheme, like the one used to reduce pollution in a bill passed by the House, Lieberman said yes, but noted that the scheme had "a lot of moving parts you could negotiate on."

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 4, 2009; 3:27 PM ET
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Cap and trade will the largest tax increase in our Nation's history and is a complete sell-out of the American way of life. This will kill what is left of our industry. This will then be further shoved up the taxpayer’s colon if these morons are allowed to pass a Treaty granting taxing authority to a foreign entity for the first time since the Revolutionary War. This will require US taxpayers to send TRILLIONS of dollars to Third World Countries.

Call your Senators and demand they stop trying to destroy our Nation with this type of foolishness. If we want to spend TRILLIIONS here cleaning the environment then fine. It would be better to spend the money here then to send it to some Third World Country War Lord.

The cap and tax is a scam and a sell out by the government to allow Goldman and Wall-Street to inflate the next bubble dealing in phony carbon credits. This stinks.

Hopefully Kerry, Graham and Lieberman will be voted out of office in 2010 and/or 2012.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | November 4, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Any congressmembers who have not figured out by now that global warming is a complete hoax and have sold out to the Gore's of the world, will be voted out of office. Cap & trade is the means by which these america hating democrats aim to re-distribute our wealth and control our economy. We must boot these non american commies all the way to cuba in the next elections.

Posted by: spawn44 | November 4, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

CO2 has never and can never drive our climate. The Earth's atmosphere is near a historically low concentration of CO2. The Earth has cooled for the past decade at the same time CO2 levels have been increasing. Basic logic tells us there is not a problem. Simple observation tells us there is not a climate emergency. Even if Earth was warming, that is not harmful, however cooling would be. One thousand years ago our planet was considerably warmer and not only was there no emergency, man flourished. During this warm faze, the Vikings grew crops and raised cattle for hundreds of years in Greenland, try that now. The only climate emergencies we have ever seen were periods of cooling. Fear the cold, fire the politicians.

Posted by: changein2012 | November 5, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Ph.D. chemist who has studied climate research for a couple years now. Yet for all the technical details I can come up with no way to deny the basic fact that temperature as measured by thermometers instead of by tree rings or such simply fails to show "global warming" due to CO2:

Posted by: NikFromNYC | November 7, 2009 9:08 PM | Report abuse

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