Obama plans to 'immediately engage' with Republicans on energy policy

President Obama said Wednesday that he plans to “immediately engage with Republicans” next year in an attempt to pass an energy bill.

But speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Obama also said he still needs to “figure out” how to deal with energy issues.

The future of energy policy in the next session of Congress is very much in flux. But, facing a Republican majority in the House and more Republicans in the Senate, Obama has indicated he is willing to compromise. Following the November midterm elections, Obama specifically mentioned nuclear energy and natural gas as potential areas of compromise.

That was good news for many Republicans, who have long advocated for those issues. But it was frustrating for many Democrats and environmentalists who believe it’s important to focus on renewable sources, like wind and solar.

The senators involved in the failed attempt to broker a compromise on climate change earlier this year — John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — have all expressed interest in working on energy issues next year. And Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the chairman and ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, respectively, hope to revive parts of the energy bill that passed their panel in 2009.