By Ben Geman - 03/24/10 12:34 AM EDT
* The meeting included liberal and moderate Democrats from all over the country. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) was the only Republican other than Graham (who arrived late).
Here is a list of the Dems: Majority Whip Richard DurbinDick DurbinJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Elizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth Senators roll out changes to criminal justice bill MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Senate looks for easy wins amid 2016 gridlock Portman focuses on drug abuse epidemic in new ad MORE (R.I.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownDem senators: Slash executive pay at pension plans seeking benefit cuts Lawmaker offers bill to impose 'exit tax' on expatriating companies For Clinton, there's really only one choice for veep MORE (Ohio), Mark BegichMark BegichEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Dem ex-lawmakers defend Schumer on Iran MORE (Alaska), Mark WarnerMark WarnerHousing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform Week ahead: Rival encryption efforts clash on Capitol Hill Kaine, Brown, Perez on Clinton’s list of possible VPs: report MORE (Va.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCruz fouls out in Indiana Carter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Senate panel backs B water bill with Flint aid MORE (Calif.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowDem senators: Slash executive pay at pension plans seeking benefit cuts Overnight Energy: Flint aid attached to water bill 0 million Flint aid package included in water bill MORE (Mich.), Tom CarperTom CarperSenators urge White House to speed cyber policy updates Retailers battle financial sector over data breach legislation Senate approves new Veterans Affairs watchdog MORE (Del.), Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (La.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenCarter pledges probe of sex assault testimony Pentagon looks to reduce billion energy bill Senate looks for easy wins amid 2016 gridlock MORE (N.H.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Intel leaders push controversial encryption draft Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment MORE (Calif.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDem senators: Slash executive pay at pension plans seeking benefit cuts Judiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Senate passes resolution honoring Prince MORE (Minn.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Finance: Fed steady on rates; Dems rally behind retirement rule Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (Ore.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonFCC box plan raises alarms among House Judiciary leaders Three more Republican senators to meet with Supreme Court nominee This week: Congress on track to miss Puerto Rico deadline MORE (Fla.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOvernight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill Senate GOP hardening stance against emergency funding for Zika Overnight Healthcare: More trouble for Zika funding MORE (Wash.), Mark UdallMark UdallEnergy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Two vulnerable senators lack challengers for 2016 MORE (Colo.) and Ben CardinBen CardinIran and heavy water: Five things to know GOP blocks slate of Obama judicial nominees Senators close in on deal on Mexico ambassador nominee MORE (Md.).
* Lieberman told reporters afterward that the trio wants feedback from their colleagues on the plan, but soon, because they hope to complete a draft bill during the two-week Spring recess that is slated to begin March 29. Kerry noted that “we have some really key meetings in the next few days . . . we have a lot of work to do in the next 48 hours.”
* Lieberman said several low-carbon energy industries have the Senate trio’s back in opposing an “energy only” bill that omits limits on greenhouse gas emissions. (There’s more here on the “energy only” idea that several centrist Democrats are pushing.)
He cited the nuclear, renewable energy, natural gas vehicle, and electric car sectors, “all of whom say you can’t just do a traditional energy bill, you’ve got to price carbon.”
“That’s what is going to drive this change toward energy independence and carbon pollution reduction,” he added.
* One more thing from Lieberman: He rather humorously noted the tough slog an energy and climate bill faces. Asked about reconciling the nascent Senate bill with the sweeping climate and energy bill the House approved last year, he replied: “I have fantasies of reaching that point.”
* The offshore drilling expansion in the Senate plan will gives states discretion about what oil-and-gas leasing could occur in federal waters off their shores, some senators said, although details remain scarce. (Apparently it also dangles a cut of the leasing and royalty revenue before states as a carrot.)
Boxer said the plan includes “giving states the right to object.”
“They give a lot of power to the states on that,” she told reporters after leaving the meeting.
This isn’t a new idea -- various proposals that would allow states to “opt-in” to coastal drilling have been around for years. In 2008, the House approved -- during the feverish election-year fight over record energy prices -- a Democratic bill that relaxed leasing bans in place at the time.
That plan would have allowed drilling greater than 100 miles off state coasts, and within 50-100 miles if state governments agreed to it, while retaining bans on drilling that cover much of the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
A far more aggressive House GOP version that included the state revenue-sharing carrot passed the House in 2006. That plan would have similarly lifted bans greater than 100 miles from shore, while also allowing drilling within 50-100 miles unless state government’s formally opposed it, while states could “opt-in” to leasing closer than 50 miles from shore.
Neither passed the Senate, but Democrats under pressure over energy costs reluctantly allowed coastal leasing bans (which had covered most areas outside the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska) to expire in October of 2008. The Interior Department, under President Obama, hasn’t yet said where it may allow expanded offshore oil-and-gas leasing now that th formal bans are gone. But the White House is open to wider leasing as part of a broader energy package.