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Bipartisan Senate Trio Launches Climate Change Effort

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) formally launched their bipartisan effort to craft climate change legislation on Wednesday — even as the Environment and Public Works Committee remained stuck in partisan gridlock over the issue.With GOP Members boycotting EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer’s (D-Calif.) markup of her climate change bill, Kerry said he and his colleagues were moving forward with their “dual track— plan to take on the matter.According to Kerry, the group’s plan is to “create a dual track … that is [being] done with the full support and consent of Sen. Boxer and other Senators involved in this process, including Majority Leader Harry Reid— (D-Nev.).Indeed, Kerry said the group, which met with Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Wednesday morning, plans on incorporating aspects of climate legislation being worked on by Boxer, as well as the six other committees with jurisdiction, and will present Reid with a “framework— for moving a compromise bill.Despite hesitation from conservatives and moderate Democrats to tackle climate change this year, Graham and Lieberman argued the Senate must act in the next year.Graham called this year a “once-in-a-lifetime [chance] politically to solve two real problems,— referring to climate change and reliance on foreign sources of energy.Likewise, Lieberman argued that, “This is the year we’ve got to reach out to each other to get 60 votes. … This is the session of Congress that we’ve got to get started.—But while Kerry, Lieberman and Graham were calling for a bipartisan solution, partisan politics continued to stymie efforts to pass legislation in EPW.Boxer gaveled in the second day of her markup Wednesday morning with little expectation that Republicans will return to the table anytime soon. Although all of the committee’s Democrats came to the markup, only ranking member James Inhofe (Okla.) represented the Republicans — and even then, Inhofe’s only purpose was to reiterate GOP demands that a new EPA review of the legislation be done before the markup proceeds.

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