The three senators are planning a climate and energy measure that scraps the “economy-wide” cap-and-trade plan that the House approved last year, but has not gained traction in the Senate.
It remains unclear if their approach – which might include a cap-and-trade program for power plants and a carbon tax or fee on motor fuels – can fare any better and win a spot on the election-year floor agenda.
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“We made a lot of progress I thought,” Kerry said after exiting the meeting. He also noted that he has been meeting with other Republicans.
Lawmakers emerging from the meeting – one of several that Kerry, Graham and Lieberman are holding with various colleagues – called the session a broad discussion rather than talks about specifics or details.
“There were some interesting things that were discussed in there and like everything else in the United States Senate, the devil is in the details,” Voinovich said, noting he wanted to hear more about the plans. “There is more meat that has got to be put on the bones.”
“They are very anxious to work with us to make sure that what is in there is good for manufacturing,” noted Stabenow, while Baucus called the new effort “refreshing” and said it shows “new thinking.”
Less clear still is when the plan will morph into actual legislation. Kerry, asked if he envisioned introducing a bill by Easter (which is in early April), replied “that would be nice.”