White House Hosts Climate Huddle

Photo by ~mvi~, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigberto/2770838680/">via Flickr</a>.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


For months now, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) has been promising that the climate and energy bill he’s authoring with Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) will be released sometime soon. Last week, his spokesman told me their bill would be made public in the “coming weeks.” But it’s well known that the trio is not introducing anything until they have 60 senators lined up behind them–and from what I hear from Senate staffers, it’s not clear that they are anywhere near that number yet.

But that could change. Key senators and a number of swing voters on the issue are huddling at the White House this afternoon for a closed-door session with administration officials. In addition to the authors, Democrats Max Baucus (Mont.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) are on the guest list. On the Republican side, Susan Collins (Maine), Judd Gregg (N.H.), George LeMieux (Fla.), Richard Lugar (Ind.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have been invited.

The invite list is a pretty good guide to the senators who are seen as crucial votes if anything is to be passed this year. Cantwell and Collins have their own competing climate legislation, and there’s been a lot of chatter about whether they would sign onto the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill if it incorporates enough of their ideas. Rockefeller last week introduced a bill to delay Environmental Protection Agency regulation of carbon dioxide for one year to protect coal states and give the Senate more time to act. Murkowski has been leading efforts to block EPA rules forever, because she says regulating greenhouse gases should be the job of Congress. And Brown has been the key Democrat negotiating for measures to protect trade-exposed, energy intensive industries in a climate plan. The list reflects not only key senators but key constituencies that need to be won over.

From the administration, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are expected to attend. While White House climate and energy adviser Carol Browner has said that the administration does not plan to offer a legislative outline to the Senate, the participation of cabinet members in today’s meeting indicates high-level engagement in the negotiations.

Environmental advocates are taking this meeting as a signal that there may actually be forward movement on legislation soon, despite the countless obituaries that have been written for climate policy.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate