Seven Dem Sens. join push against reconciliation

A bipartisan group of senators are pressing colleagues not to use the special budget reconciliation process to make it easier to pass climate change legislation.

Seven Democrats and 21 Republicans have penned a letter to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and the committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), urging them not to attach bill limiting carbon emissions to a budget reconciliation measure, which needs only a simple majority in the Senate to pass.

The White House and top Democrats in Congress who back the cap-and-trade climate change bill haven't ruled out using the reconciliation process to push it through.

Republicans and centrist Democrats have said they're worried that emissions caps would lead to a rise in energy costs that would hurt consumers and companies in energy-producing states. Critics also said that using reconciliation to bypass the regular legislative process would make it tougher for the Obama administration to win bipartisan support in the future.

Read the letter below:



March