Key senators “said Tuesday they hope rising gasoline prices will serve as the impetus to reincarnate a bipartisan ‘gang’ of lawmakers who worked in 2008 to develop a compromise energy bill,” The Hill reports.
The group was at first known as the “gang of 10,” but that number grew to 20 as more lawmakers joined the coalition. But the gang ultimately fell apart as Republicans, under the banner of “drill, baby, drill,” pushed for more concessions from Democrats on offshore drilling.
Some members have already started reaching out.
“We have a new situation here with Libya and gas prices going up to at least look at some type of ‘American Energy Standard’ to encourage more renewables, nuclear, clean coal, everything,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who was a member of the gang in 2008. “The only way we are going to do it is if we start in the Senate with a bipartisan group.”
Klobuchar said she has reached out to Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), two of the founding members of the group, about whether they would like to hold talks on a bipartisan energy bill. Klobuchar has also reached out to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).
“They may be open to it,” Klobuchar said in the Capitol Tuesday. But she stressed that lawmakers have not yet agreed to work together and talks have not begun.
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) could be a likely lawmaker to join a new gang. Graham and Begich have said they plan to collaborate on developing an energy bill. "Our staff have just had preliminary talks," Begich said Tuesday.
Both Graham and Klobuchar “said Tuesday a bipartisan energy bill could be built around a ‘clean energy standard’ (CES), in which a certain percentage of the country’s electricity comes from low-carbon sources like wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas.”