Senate Democrats “hope to siphon votes from a GOP bid to hamstring EPA climate rules by voting first on a Democratic alternative,” POLITICO reports.
Top Democrats plan to hold a vote next week on an amendment from Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus before allowing a vote on a more sweeping climate amendment from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a senior Democratic leadership aide told POLITICO on Thursday.
Baucus’s amendment — which aims to exempt agriculture and small industrial facilities from climate rules — would allow moderate Democrats to support limits on EPA regulations without backing the Republican effort to upend the Obama administration’s climate policies.
McConnell’s amendment, authored by Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, would fully revoke the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, a move the White House opposes and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has called “draconian.” Companion legislation is slated for a House vote next month, when it’s expected to easily pass.
The Senate is also likely to vote next week on a third climate amendment, from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), to impose a two-year delay on EPA climate rules for industrial facilities, the leadership aide said.
These amendments “are all being offered to pending small-business legislation that the Senate will most likely continue considering next week.”
That bill is the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493).