Original Link: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22583.html
By LISA LERER
Republicans in the House Energy and Commerce committee are considering introducing about 450 amendments during the mark-up of climate change legislation next week, according to a working list obtained by POLITICO. Many of the potential amendments would lower the environmental standards set forth in the bill, or could make it more difficult for Democrats to vote to support it.
The committee is scheduled to spend all next week marking-up the climate and energy bill sponsored by Reps. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey, (D-Mass.)
Waxman, the chairman of the committee, has spent months negotiating a deal with southern and Midwestern Democrats who fear the new regulations capping greenhouse gases could hurt businesses and consumers at homes. On Thursday, Virginia Rep. Rich Boucher – who’s acted as a lead negotiator for skeptical Democrats – endorsed the bill, a signal that it could have enough support to pass the committee.
But Republicans plan to wage a fierce fight for wavering Democrats. They plan to introduce amendments covering a huge swath of issues from lowering the emissions targets and renewable electricity standard included in the bill to making the controversial Yucca Mountain in Nevada a storage facility for carbon capture and sequestration waste.
Texas Rep. Joe Barton, the highest ranking Republican on the committee, announced an alternative energy bill on Thursday— a proposal Republicans expect will be swiftly voted down by the committee. After that, they plan to start introducing the hundreds of amendments.
Several amendments targeted at expanding coal, oil refineries, and nuclear production specifically target skeptical southern Democrats. And amendments like the Ohio and Michigan “jobs recovery exemption” and others focused on economic recovery in the Rust Belt could be tough votes for worried Midwestern Democrats.
Republicans are also considering introducing a series of state-specific proposals targeted at making lawmakers take tough votes against their home districts. The amendments would would suspend the law if more than 1,000 jobs are lost in each state and would make the allowances required under a cap-and-trade program totally free for the utility companies in each state. Another group of amendments would eliminate tax benefits for energy and manufacturing companies expected to be hardest hit by the legislation, like Ford, Conoco, and Dupont.
Still, other amendments would mandate intense reporting requirements, force congressional reauthorization every two years, and limit lawsuits.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Wamxan can decide to proceed to a vote at any point in the mark-up hearing, a move that would cut off Republican amendments.