Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dem mutiny on climate bill grows, says Peterson

Most likely because their constituents are outside their doors with torches and pitchforks.

    Posted: 06/10/09 08:17 PM [ET]
    More and more Democrats are ready to vote against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s climate change bill, according to a congressional committee chairman who opposes his leader.

    The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that he’s at an impasse with the lead sponsor of a climate change bill strongly backed by Pelosi (D-Calif.), and that his list of Democratic members who would join him in voting against the measure is growing rather than shrinking.

    “We’re stuck,” Peterson said regarding a clash he’s had with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) over a number of issues in the bill. “And there’s a lot of issues that haven’t even come up yet.”

    The two powerful chairmen are butting heads at the staff level, despite a deadline set by Pelosi for all committee action to be completed by June 19.

    But that may be the least of the trouble.

    Peterson has warned that the bill put together by Waxman and Energy and Environment subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) will fail if agriculture-related provisions aren’t altered, and he’s said he has as many as 45 votes on his side. That number of Democratic defections would certainly doom the prospects of passing the bill in the House.

    And while the Agriculture chairman said he’s working to resolve those differences and not intentionally trying to torpedo the legislation, he noted that skepticism toward the bill is growing, not shrinking.

    “I’m just estimating the number of votes that will be against this,” Peterson said. “I suspect that the list has grown as more members have gotten a chance to look at this. I mean, my list has grown.”


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