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Boxer Aims for November Markup of Climate Bill

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold hearings the week of Oct. 26 on a sweeping climate change bill, Chairman Barbara Boxer announced Tuesday.

“We are continuing to see more support for our bill,— the California Democrat said at a press conference Tuesday, predicting she will schedule a committee markup in early November.

The Senate’s climate change measure, introduced Sept. 30 by Boxer and Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), has so far received a tepid response among their Democratic colleagues, especially those hailing from the Midwest and coal-rich states. Boxer said Tuesday that she has been working with Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Mark Warner (Va.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Max Baucus (Mont.) and Tom Carper (Del.) to accommodate those concerns, but noted those negotiations would not slow the bill’s progress in the Senate.

“My goal is to get every single Democrat, but no, that would not be reason for delay,— she said.

The chairman’s mark that will emerge from the Environment panel will move directly to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office, Boxer said, where it will be melded with legislation from the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and other committees that hold jurisdiction over climate change. Those panels include the more conservative Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and Finance committees, which will want to include their imprint on the carbon cap-and-trade provisions of the legislation.

Boxer did not indicate when the legislation — a top priority for Democrats that has been overshadowed by health care reform — would appear on the Senate floor.

“This is a decision that will be made by Sen. Reid. He’s very encouraging to us,— Boxer said. “This is his decision. I certainly hope to do it by the end of the year.—