Henry Waxman May Fast Track Climate Bill

By Lisa Lerer
May 5, 2009

Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman may fast-track
his controversial climate change bill, bypassing the
political hurdles of the subcommittee.

”I’m still holding firm on my deadline to get a bill out
of committee by the end of May and I believe that will
probably require us to go right to the full committee
and bypass the subcommittee,” Waxman told reporters.

Waxman cautioned that "no final decisions" had been
made, but he stressed that skipping the subcommittee
might be the only way to keep to his deadline.
Waxman’s comments came just hours after the Democrats on
the committee met with President Barack Obama in the
White House. The president urged the committee to find a
compromise on climate and energy legislation that’s been
stuck in the subcommittee for weeks.

Democrats on the committee said the expedited timeline
was necessary to pass a bill out of committee by the
Memorial Day recess – a deadline set by Waxman and
encouraged by the administration, which wants the
committee to be ready to move on to health care reform this summer.

“The clocks ticking and we’re out of time,” said Rep.
Mike Doyle, (D-Pa, who noted the earliest the committee
could mark-up the bill was next week. “It’s already slid
back to next week and that leaves you two weeks.”

Fast tracking this bill also has some political
advantages. The subcommittee is a tougher battleground
than the full committee, largely due to its
geographically diverse makeup and tighter margin.

“You get a couple more margin of error if you’re talking
about the votes, assuming no Republicans vote for the
bill, but the dynamics are still the same,” said Doyle.

Negotiations over the bill have been slowed by a dozen
Democrats who want to cushion regional interests like
steel factories, oil refiners, and coal plants from
major price increases.

Although some members of the committee have called for
more hearings once the final language of the proposal is
written, Waxman indicated that an additional hearing was

“We did have hearings on the whole framework and we also
had extensive testimony on how people would like to see
the allocations made, so it isn’t as if we haven’t had
the input,” said Waxman.


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