Pelosi Takes A Gamble On Climate Change Bill

5033880House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a floor vote for a controversial climate change bill for this week, even though some key Democrats may not yet be on board with the significant changes the legislation would make.

Other Democratic leaders are still working out compromises in the bill, but Pelosi filed the legislation with the House Rules Committee Monday night, Politico reported, meaning the full House of Representatives will vote on the matter. The speaker has said she wanted a vote on the bill before the Congress breaks next week for its July 4 holiday.

"There are some issues still under discussion, but we are confident we can resolve them by the time the bill goes to the floor on Friday," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told Politico in an e-mail.

Hammill said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson both agreed to the vote. Waxman, who led the development of the climate change bill, has been negotiating with Peterson, who wants to ease the burden the bill may place on farmers and rural residents who may face higher electricity costs than urban citizens.

The massive, nearly 1,000-page bill calls for a 17 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 from 2005 levels and an 83 percent reduction by 2050. The legislation aims to meet that goal by instituting a price on carbon emissions through a "cap-and-trade" system, which would enable industries to buy and trade permits that allow them to emit certain levels of carbon. About 85 percent of the permits would be given away, however -- an example of the significant compromises Waxman has orchestrated to gain broader support for the bill.

While some Democrats are still on the fence, so are some environmental groups, as a result of all the compromises. Greenpeace and other groups have already withdrawn their support for the bill.

Meanwhile, Republicans have protested the cost the legislation would impose on all Americans -- not just farmers.

A recent Congressional Budget Office report, however, projected only a modest average household cost increase of $175 a year after various cost-saving measures included in the bill were taken into account. The poorest households would, in fact, save $40 a year, the report estimated.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a co-sponsor of the bill, compared the cost to "a postage stamp a day."