The midterm elections have resulted in a less ambitious than anticipated lame duck session of Congress. Members of the House and Senate will return this week to debate the Bush tax cuts, an appropriations bill, and possibly some smaller energy provisions involving natural gas vehicles. New members are in town for orientation as parties sort out new leadership positions and strategy for the coming year.
Senators return from the Independence Day recess today with a packed schedule awaiting them. Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-NV) will be working with committee chairs this week to chart a path forward on clean energy legislation in hopes of attracting 60 votes.
The packed legislative calendar and upcoming November elections make July a crucial month for addressing clean energy and climate legislation. Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration remain committed to pivoting off of the oil disaster in the Gulf and passing a clean energy bill, but a concrete legislative package has yet to emerge in the Senate.
Nothing in D.C. should really surprise me anymore. But this week, my staff pointed me to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s cynical and misdirected op-ed piece attempting to justify her assault on the Clean Air Act. The Senator’s justification for her “Dirty Air Act” -- Senate resolution (S.J. Res. 26), scheduled for a vote later this week -- really galled me.
Last week Senators Kerry (D-MA), Graham (R-SC), and Lieberman (I-CT) indicated they are working to introduce a comprehensive climate and energy bill as soon as possible. The trio generated much buzz after they gave a general description of the new approach to emissions reductions that will be included in their bill. While many key senators seemed open to the new proposal, others -- joined by members of the House -- launched new attacks on the Clean Air Act, gaining praise from Senator Murkowski (R-AK).