White House, Republicans Convene Separate Meetings on ‘Climate Change’

May 5, 2009 - 5:57 AM
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Washington (AP) - Facing resistance from members of his own party, President Barack Obama wants to meet with all 36 Democrats on the House Energy Committee to reach agreement on climate and energy legislation.
 
A White House aide said Obama plans to meet with the lawmakers Tuesday to discuss two of his key domestic priorities -- legislation to cut the emissions linked to global warming by requiring cleaner sources of energy and efforts to overhaul health care.
 
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., unveiled a draft bill in March that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with a proposal Obama called for in his campaign.
 
But the committee has postponed writing the final version of the bill because of concerns raised by moderate Democrats about the cost.
 
Obama's budget expects to raise $650 billion by auctioning off permits to companies that release heat-trapping gases, with the bulk of the money going back to families to help with higher energy prices.
 
Democrats from coal and industrial states are pushing Waxman and Markey to distribute at least some of those permits for free to ease costs.
 
Meanwhile, House Republicans are holding their own energy summit Tuesday to highlight how the Waxman-Markey bill, which they call a national energy tax, will affect middle-class families and small businesses.
 
Also, a bipartisan group of seven House members Tuesday will unveil rival energy legislation. Led by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., the group says their plan will "fuel the American economy rather than fueling partisan debate."