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Warm Welcome for Warming Debate

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to bring global warming legislation to the floor “as soon as possible” — aiming to tie Democrats to high gas prices.

[IMGCAP(1)] Democratic efforts to craft global warming legislation have all but stalled this year in the face of GOP opposition, and Republicans argue that the cap-and-trade proposals backed by Democratic leaders and even the GOP presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), amount to “cap-and-tax” plans that will raise gas prices and utility bills and hurt domestic industry.

“At a time when families are reconsidering their summer travel plans because of record high gas prices, I believe there is no clearer distinction between the two parties in Congress than on this issue,” Boehner said.

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill welcomed Republicans to the global warming debate and said the House will “continue to move forward as quickly as possible, regardless of the outcome of the current Senate debate.” Of the GOP offer, he said “everyone needs to be involved in finding bipartisan solutions.”

A New Caucus. Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the two openly gay Members of Congress, announced Wednesday the formation of a caucus with 53 members to promote equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. The caucus is called the LGBT Equality Caucus.

“We represent different races, different genders, different sexual orientations, different geographic regions, different generations and different parties, but we share a common mission: to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality,” Baldwin said.

Frank said, “With a Democratic majority in the House, we now have both the opportunity and the responsibility to move toward legal equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.”

Baldwin and Frank are co-chairs of the caucus, which aims to promote equal rights domestically and in foreign policy.

Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) and Christopher Shays (Conn.) joined 51 Democrats in backing the formation of the caucus.

— Steven T. Dennis

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