Can Kerry Find the Climate Bill Sweet Spot?

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Can John Kerry muster the mojo to pass a climate bill in the Senate? He’s expected to unveil his much-anticipated legislation next week, ahead of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and he and his senate colleagues are pushing to get the details in order in the final days before release.

On Tuesday, he met with Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the duo that lead the House fight last summer. Following the meeting, Kerry tweeted that he hopes “their legislative karma rubbed off.” It will certainly have to if the Senate is going to move a bill this year.

Markey told reporters on Wednesday that he is “encouraged with the progress” that Kerry, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) have made so far in getting together a bill that can pass this year. “I’m optimistic they can find a way of bringing enough senators on board to pass legislation this year in the Senate,” said Markey.

Of course, there has been plenty of concern in the House that all the heavy lifting and compromise that went into passing the Waxman-Markey bill last June might be ignored, and that the Senate would produce something that looks substantially different than their bill. But Markey seemed optimistic both that Kerry can find a path forward, and that they could work out the details between the chambers.

“I think the bill may be different, and then in the conference committee we can work to find a final formula,” said Markey. “Their goal is to find the 60 votes that are needed. I am going to leave it to Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman to find a formula that is necessary to accomplish that goal.”

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