By Patrick O’Connor
June 22, 2009
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will roll the dice on a top priority this week, bringing a contentious climate change bill to the floor despite strong misgivings from her rank-and-file and an outspoken chairman who remains a major impediment.
The speaker filed the legislation with the Rules Committee on Monday night, her spokesman said, even though its authors, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey, are still working out a deal with Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.
"The bill has been filed tonight with the Rules Committee," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in an e-mail. "There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday."
The speaker, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Waxman and Peterson "have all agreed on this approach for moving this historic climate change and clean energy jobs bill," Hammill continued.
Peterson, who articulated the complaints of farm-state Democrats, has come to stand for many other rank-and-file lawmakers who oppose the bill. The rural Democrats are concerned it puts a disproportionate burden on farmers, without the possibility of rewards, while others in the party are concerned about the economic impact of the bill and its impact on the separate, but related, fight over health care.
Waxman and Markey have been patiently working on their colleagues for months, offering incentives for industry along the way, and they have been working with Peterson on a package of incentives for the farm states.