Democrats move to mark up climate bill, but Republicans say not so fast

Senate Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee say they may block panel Democrats from holding a mark-up hearing to pass climate legislation.


Matt Dempsey, the committee’s minority spokesman, said Republicans want more time to study the bill and for the Environmental Protection Agency to perform a more thorough review of the bill’s costs.

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EPA did release an initial look at the legislation last Friday when Democrats also unveiled the Senate climate measure, co-sponsored by Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California.

It projected only modest cost increases from the bill, but the assessment was partly based on a previous review of the climate bill passed by the House.

Democrats say the two bills are largely similar, and after three days of marathon hearings this week are ready to move on to voting on the measure in committee.

A senior Democratic aide said Friday that the intention was to mark-up the bill on Tuesday.

Committee rules though say Democrats need the support of two Republicans to proceed and that seemed unlikely on Friday afternoon.

“We are looking to go beyond general message themes of cap and trade to look at the bill itself,” Dempsey said. “We’ve debate whether global warming is a national security issue. We want to examine the impacts on consumers, on the agriculture sector, on the bill’s specifics.”