Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Waxman Threatens Subcommittee Leapfrog To Speed Energy Policy Bill

Though Democrat members of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee spent an hour in the Oval Office with President Obama Tuesday trying to iron out regional energy policy differences, Chairman Henry Waxman says he may skip over the subcommittee and take the legislation directly to the entire Energy and Commerce Committee for a markup next week. "I'm still holding firm on my deadline of getting a bill out of the committee by the end of May," Waxman said, "and I believe that will probably require us to go right to the full committee and bypass the subcommittee." Waxman would not commit to a deadline for releasing the pre-markup text of the bill, entitled American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

Congressman Rick Boucher of Virginia, who attended the meeting of subcommittee members with President Obama, Vice President Biden, National Economic Council Chairman Larry Summers and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, said compromise among various factions is still needed on the time schedule for CO2 emissions reduction, allocation of carbon cap and trade credits, wind and solar power mandates, and identification of activities which can be used to offset emission reduction requirements. Speaking on the depth of state to state differences on such issues, Boucher emphasized the need for regional balance so as not to disadvantage states which rely heavily on coal, oil and gas fired power production.

Describing the meeting with President Obama, Congressman Jay Inslee of Washington said the President "told us sometimes we do things of real impact, and none of us would want to look back in twenty to thirty years and think we had punted on something of a historic nature."
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