Browner says White House seeking Senate climate action this year, demurs on gas tax


Browner said the White House is “very very encouraged” by Senate negotiations led by Sens. John KerryJohn KerryObama phones Italian leader after deadly earthquake US arms sale to Saudi Arabia under fire from lawmakers Top Republican presses Kerry for Iran 'ransom' details MORE (D-Mass.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamThe Trail 2016: Clinton’s ups and downs Graham: GOP being 'left behind' under Trump Thousands of Soros docs released by alleged Russian-backed hackers MORE (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and is providing “technical advice” on their planned bill.

The trio is crafting a compromise measure that abandons the “economy-wide” cap-and-trade bill the House approved last year.  Instead they are pursuing a more sector-by-sector approach that includes cap-and-trade for utilities, but may address greenhouse gas emissions from gasoline through a carbon tax or fee.

But Browner ducked a question about whether the White House backs a carbon tax on motor fuels, noting “we have not been asked about that specifically in terms of technical advice.”

“We are not going to take a position on any component part, what we need to see is the whole package,” she added.