Dems Get Speed Reader, Al Gore To Bolster Energy Bill

Republicans in the House have already drawn up more than 400 amendments to try to stymie a massive climate change and energy bill currently under consideration, but it seems as if the Democrats may now be catching on to their tricks.

Democrats in the House Energy and Commerce Committee have hired a speed reader, the Wall Street Journal reported, in case Republicans request for the more than 900 page bill to be read aloud.

Invoking their procedural right to have the bill read aloud could advance the Republican's plan to stall a vote on the bill. Committee Chairman Henry Waxman wants the bill voted out of the committee before Congress breaks for its Memorial Day recess next week.

The speed reader could read one page of the bill every 34 seconds, according the Journal -- meaning it would still take around nine hours to read the entire thing.

The bill causing all the fuss -- the American Clean Energy and Security Act -- seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via a renewable electricity standard and a "cap-and-trade" system, which would enable polluting industries to buy and trade permits that allow them to emit certain levels of carbon.

Democrats are getting support for the climate change measure from more than just a speed reader, though. Former vice president and environmental activist Al Gore has been personally lobbying Democratic members of the committee for their support of the legislation, Politico reports.

Not all Democrats are in favor of the bill, and no more than six can vote against it, if it is to make it through the committee (that assumes every Republican votes against it).

Gore reportedly had a lengthy conversation with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), one of the Democrats still skeptical of the bill. Engel told the former vice president he was uncomfortable with the concessions that have been made to polluting industries in order to advance the bill.

Waxman has made a number of compromises to win the support of more moderate congressmen, such as agreeing to give away -- rather than auctioning off -- a portion of the cap-and-trade permits to impacted industries.

Gore is also using his environmental organizations to run large, grassroots campaigns advocating for the bill with television ads, e-mails and other means, the Politico reported.