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Schumer: Dems likely to keep energy and climate bills separate

A proposed measure to address climate change is likely to be offered
as an amendment to an energy bill Democrats have drafted in the Senate,
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday.

Schumer offered
details of an energy and climate change bill that Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has
said he plans to move in July
.

“Leader
Reid is preparing a really good, strong bill,” Schumer said this
morning during an appearance on MSNBC, describing elements of the
legislation.

Schumer said the legislation would include a lot
to encourage use of alternative energy and nuclear power.
The proposal would also include stricter regulation of oil companies in
the wake of the massive offshore spill in the
Gulf of Mexico.

Schumer hinted that the legislation would
be largely based on an underlying energy bill authored by Sen. Jeff
Bingaman (D-N.M.), the chairman of the Energy and Natural
Resources Committee. The committee approved that bill with several GOP
votes a year ago.

It would be on top of that where Sens. John
Kerry
(D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) would have an opportunity to
offer their proposals to rein in climate change, Schumer explained.

The
Bingaman proposal would be “the base bill upon which John Kerry will
seek to add his bill,” Schumer said.

“Kerry
has a proposal that has pretty broad support,” added the senior
Democrat. “He’s going, in my opinion, going to get a chance to offer it
in the form of an amendment.”

Such a move would have the effect
of divorcing climate change components from energy legislation during
an election year in which vulnerable Democrats might be reluctant to
support legislation that might make energy more costly over time. 

“We believe we’re right on track as the leadership devises the best
process to ensure passage of comprehensive climate and energy
legislation and appreciate Senator Schumer’s compliment of the work
that’s been done and the broad support we’ve secured,” said Whitney
Smith, a spokeswoman for Kerry.

For
instance,
Republicans had long hammered away at House Democrats’ votes
on a much tougher (by comparison) cap-and-trade bill last June,
deriding it as “cap-and-tax.”

Ben Geman contributed to this report.

Tags Charles Schumer Harry Reid John Kerry

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