Kerry-Lieberman Climate Bill: Energy Execs, Environmentalists, but No Republicans

By Jonathan Blakely

May 12, 2010 3:36pm

ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports: John Kerry and Joe Lieberman got an energy company CEO,  an electric company head, two leading environmentalists, an evangelical leader and an admiral – among many others  – to join them in unveiling a long-awaited centrist climate change and energy independence proposal today. But what they couldn't find is a Senate Republican. Indeed, even as the senators addressed a packed Capitol Hill press conference, their one-time co-sponsor, Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-SC, shot out a press release saying bipartisanship will be "extremely difficult" this year because of the oil spill and because Democrats also want to also pursue an immigration reform proposal. "We should move forward in a reasoned, thoughtful manner and in a political climate which gives us the best chance at success," said Graham in the paper statement. "The problems created by the historic oil spill in the Gulf, along with the uncertainty of immigration politics, have made it extremely difficult for transformational legislation in the area of energy and climate to garner bipartisan support at this time.”  Kerry argued the opposite: "After a devastating oil spill this should be an easy vote," he said. And he would not give up hope. "The doubters declared health care reform dead right up until we passed it," he said. But the climate change and energy bill does include new provisions for offshore drilling. And those are making coastal Democrats queasy. There will likely need to be changes to gain support from all of them. There is plenty of sound at this presser about the importance to the US economically and ecologically and morally. Lieberman on the new energy economy – "…we can either lead or be lead…" Kerry: "Washington watches while other countries take jobs from us – literally steal them." The evangelical leader had a pithy byte when he said, "I don't want to be in front of God on judgment day saying I really want to do something to protect the earth and help the poor but the votes just weren't there." In this case, however, the votes aren't there right now. The proposal is sweeping and enormous and details were only publicly released earlier today.  It would touch more than 75 percent of the US greenhouse gas emissions, which are emitted by 2 percent of American businesses. Small and agricultural business and consumers are exempted. It would expand nuclear energy in the US. The bill's s cost is not yet clear. It would seek to place a price on carbon emissions and by 2030 industries would have to pay for carbon without government help.

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