Climate measures could be added in conference to an energy bill the Senate will take up this week, according to the White House.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said he wouldn’t rule out adding some climate measures to the legislation in conference, assuming a scaled-down energy bill passes the Senate.
The measure in the Senate drops the language from the House dealing with climate change and carbon emissions. By dropping those controversial measures, Democrats hope they can pass a bill through the Senate before lawmakers leave for the August recess.
“I don’t think the bill is essentially dead for the year,” Gibbs said. “The House passed a very strong and very comprehensive energy bill last year. The Senate is going to take up a version that is more scaled down, but still has some important aspects, particularly dealing with how we deal with oil spills in the future.”
He added: “I don’t think that closes the door. Once a bill passes each house, it doesn’t close the door to having some sort of conference.”
President Obama said in a Rose Garden statement earlier Tuesday, after a meeting with bipartisan leadership of both the House and Senate, that he only supports the Senate bill as a beginning.
“That legislation is an important step in the right direction, but I want to emphasize it’s only the first step,” Obama said. “And I intend to keep pushing for broader reform, including climate legislation, because if we’ve learned anything from the tragedy in the Gulf, it’s that our current energy policy is unsustainable.”
Gibbs said tackling expanded legislation in conference isn’t something that would have to wait for a lame-duck session.
“We could do it in September,” he said.
by Chris Horner
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