Reid faces new climate pressure

The centrist and liberal Democrats want Reid (D-Nev.) to bring broad, bipartisan energy and climate legislation to a floor vote this year, despite the fact that mid-term elections are later this year.

The move comes days before Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)  are scheduled to brief colleagues on the climate and energy bill they’re crafting.

A letter from the lawmakers to Reid Friday demonstrates that a substantial number of liberal and moderate senators hope to keep the issue on the Senate radar despite a slew of competing election-year priorities.

The letter calls for legislation with “a renewed focus on jobs and reduced dependence on foreign oil.”

“Our lack of a comprehensive clean energy policy hurts job creation and increases regulatory uncertainty throughout our economy,” states the letter. “Businesses are waiting on clear signals from Congress before investing billions in energy, transportation, manufacturing, buildings and other sectors.”

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) spearheaded the letter. Other signers include Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), and Mark Begich (D-Alaska).

The letter says the senators are also “deeply concerned” with spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually on oil imports.

But it steers clear of any specifics on what a broad climate and energy bill should include.