Ways and Means Republicans Move to Ensure Climate Votes

Posted June 4, 2009 at 3:00pm

Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee invoked House rules Thursday to help guarantee the committee will get a chance to mark up the climate change bill.

Although Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) had promised the committee would mark up the bill before the June 19 deadline, Republicans were worried that Rangel could let it slide in favor of other priorities.

Republicans believe that the climate change bill will increase taxes through the cap-and-trade provision.

“We were disappointed, therefore, to read press reports suggesting that the Committee may allow itself to be bypassed on this measure, meaning no Member of the Committee on Ways & Means will have an opportunity to offer suggestions on ways to modify the bill or to propose alternative approaches,— Republican members wrote in a letter to Rangel on Thursday.

In the letter they referenced clause 2(c)(2) of Rule XI, which says if three Members request a markup of a specific bill, the chairman must schedule a meeting within seven days of the request, and Members are empowered to convene a markup on their own if the chairman does not reply.

“Just as we look forward to working together to produce a bipartisan health care reform bill, we stand ready to roll up our sleeves to ensure the Committee has an opportunity to fully consider cap and trade legislation,— the letter said.

Rangel, who said his staff informed him of the June 19 deadline, said Wednesday that health care remains his priority, but he’s willing to move forward on climate change, too.

Rangel has been noncommittal about timing for the legislation but told reporters he would comply with the new deadline.

“We have to reach it,— he said. “We’re going to make it.—