The Obama administration opposes stripping EPA authority. Asked whether there are enough votes to block legislation that hamstrings EPA, Browner replied “I think so.”
The White House says its first choice is for Congress to approve a broad climate change and energy bill, but warns that EPA is prepared to act under its current powers if Congress remains deadlocked.
Murkowski’s plan – if it comes to the floor – would not be subject to filibuster. But Browner expressed confidence that even if it passed the Senate, it would face widespread resistance in the House.
Murkowski’s plan would upend a recently finalized EPA-Transportation Department rule that created joint greenhouse gas and mileage standards for cars and light trucks. Automakers support the rule because it will prevent them from being subject to multiple state-based emissions rules.
“You have got a lot of people in the House who think the car rule is a good rule, it’s the right thing to do, whether it be the members from California or the members from Michigan,” Browner said. She spoke at an energy forum hosted by the National Journal Group.