With House Republicans committed to oppose any carbon regulation, the Energy and Commerce mark-up followed weeks of negotiations among Committee Democrats over how to soften the measure’s impact on consumers and various economic sectors. The Committee's action gives the measure a major boost on both sides of the Hill because the panel is among the largest and most ideologically and geographically diverse in Congress, with members from Rust Belt, oil patch, farm and coastal states. However, while Chairman Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey (D-MA) have negotiated enough backing for their plan so far, some Democrats on their Committee are said to be seeking further changes, including scaling back the bill's 2020 emission reduction goal. Influential Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) said Thursday that, while he is waiting to see the final version, the Energy and Commerce Committee has "an urban-dominated bill" that "is going no place in the Senate." Further, he complained that rural electricity cooperatives and municipal utilities receive an unfairly small share of emission credits. He also echoed some Ways and Means Committee Democrats who argue that a carbon market will lead to widespread speculation and manipulation that will adversely affect commodity and financial markets, saying: "I'm not for Wall Street having anything to do with carbon ... because you can't trust them.” It has been reported that Chairman Peterson represents the views of more than thirty House Democrats. The House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over taxation issues implicated by the H.R. 2454, and Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) has indicated that healthcare reform is a bigger priority for him than finishing a climate bill. House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut, also a Ways and Means member, said both climate and healthcare legislation are important and will get done in the full House before August. "It's just that when you go home, you run into people who are losing their job and losing their health care," he said.
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