Lawmakers on the Energy and Commerce Committee are also working closely with senators who have expressed support for efforts to limit EPA's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Whitfield said he has met with Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiGOP governors confront Medicaid divide GOP senator won't vote to defund Planned Parenthood A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Alaska) and Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers Lobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner MORE (D-W.Va.), both of whom introduced bills on the issue in the last Congress.
Whitfield stressed the importance of developing legislation in the House that can pass the Senate. Asked by reporters if the effort is merely symbolic because President Obama is likely to veto any bill that blocks EPA's authority, Whitfield said a veto will bring the issue into the 2012 election spotlight.
"We're going to try to pass what we think is right out of the House. We're going to make every effort that we can do to get it through the Senate," he said. "And if the president vetoes it, then one thing that's going to do is elevate these issues for the 2012 presidential election."
Many of those issues will be addressed at the Energy subcommittee's first hearing, which will focus on "where we are today on energy," Whitfield said. The hearing, to be held in the second week of February, will focus on energy demand and the country's capacity to develop its domestic resources, Whitfield said.