Sen. Kerry sees 'definite Republican votes' for climate change legislation

Securing some GOP support is likely crucial because a small number of Democrats, such as Mary Landrieu (La.), are considered unlikely to endorse cap-and-trade legislation. Several Republicans, including Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), are potential votes in favor of a climate bill.

Kerry said another meeting with Reid and chairmen of the committees with jurisdiction over climate legislation will occur early next week. Kerry is attending the upcoming international climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, and plans to offer an outline of the unfinished U.S. plans.

Kerry said he will be able to provide a “pretty good outline” in Copenhagen about what will be contained in the legislation. Thus far two Senate committees have acted on major portions of the bill. The Environment and Public Works Committee approved a cap-and-trade plan in early November, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a large energy package in June.

But other committees — including the powerful Finance Committee — have yet to weigh in. Kerry is also working outside the committee process with Graham and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on a compromise plan.

The House narrowly approved a sweeping climate and energy bill in June.