By Darren Goode - 09/23/10 08:40 PM EDT
Brownback is focusing solely on getting fellow Republicans to sign on to the legislation, which would require electricity companies to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources like wind, solar and biomass by 2021. A quarter of that mandate could also come from energy efficiency efforts. It is very similar to a measure that passed as part of a larger energy strategy in Bingaman’s panel last year.
Environmentalists have rallied behind the effort despite misgivings that the bill is too weak, with some arguing it does not do more than the status quo.
Republicans, meanwhile, would like to see a broader array of energy sources included in the mandate, including all nuclear power, hydroelectricity and coal produced using carbon capture and storage technology.
Bingaman “wants to keep it clean” because he “thinks he starts to then
votes and it gets a lot more complicated and less likely to pass”
additional energy sources are included, Brownback said.
to get him to add ethanol,” Brownback added, referring to adding a section separate from the production mandate that extends tax credits
for the fuel additive that expire at the end of this year and creates other biofuels incentives. “I think
gets us another handful of votes” from farm-state senators, he
Grassley also has said while he agrees with the
substance of the
mandate, he would not vote for it on the Senate floor
if Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) does not allow amendments to be
Reid has said that if energy comes up this year it
would be in a
post-election, lame-duck session that may not offer much
of any time at
all for debate on an RES or other issues.
Brownback said he is fine if amendments are not allowed if Reid “doesn’t get cute with it.” That includes, he said, during any bicameral talks with the House. “I want that bill to go all the way through and no conferencing,” he said. “If it starts looking like they’re going to antics play with it you may not have any Republican votes.”
His definition of “antics play”: not modifying the RES itself but rather using it as a vehicle for something like a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade plan or “social agenda items that we just saw this week.” Brownback presumably was referring to the failed vote this week to repeal the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy as part of the 2011 defense authorization bill.
Asked whether he can convince Republicans
like Grassley to vote for
the measure even if Reid does not allow
amendments, Brownback said,
“Maybe if you added ethanol to it. That’ll