Senators huddle on climate plans. Plus . . . another Murkowski-EPA battle looming?



"Doing financial regulatory reform helps us because we need to establish the rules of the road," Kerry said. "I think it is good to have that clarified before we take this up."

It wasn't the only high-level meeting on climate Tuesday, even as the Senate is consumed with health care. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a breakfast meeting with House and Senate members to discuss the Copenhagen international climate talks that began this week, as well as plans for domestic action.

Among the various attendees: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Kerry, and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Brown is leading a push by senators from manufacturing-heavy states to ensure that a climate bill imposes "carbon tariffs" on certain imports from countries that don't require significant emissions curbs.

-- Will there be a Round II of the Murkowski-EPA fight?

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) does not believe EPA is well-equipped to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants, factories and other stationary sources. Several months ago she tried -- and failed -- to temporarily prevent EPA from moving ahead with developing such rules. Her amendment to an EPA spending bill never got a vote.

Murkowski has not let the issue drop. "Let's just put it this way -- we continue to look for ways to ensure that we don't kick the economy in the head by way of EPA regulations," she said Tuesday.