As the Senate trio of Kerry (D-MA), Lieberman (I-CT), and Graham (R-SC) prepare to release their clime legislation next week, the key Senator in the process will be Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Reid will have to figure out the best time for the bill on the Senate’s busy calendar, which also includes economic recovery plans, Wall Street reform, and a Supreme Court nomination. Not only will he be in charge of the timing, but he will also be helping with trying to convince some of the fence sitters to vote for the bill.
As of today, it appears that there are about 40 Senators committed to voting for the bill. However, key issues such as nuclear power and expanding domestic oil production could play a vital role in winning fence sitters (or potentially losing Senators that are considered yes votes). The two Senators from New Jersey, Menendez and Lautenberg, have long been supporters of climate change legislation. But, yesterday, they both indicated that they are willing to vote against the legislation if it leads to increased offshore drilling. Lautenberg fears oil spills off the east coast and said, “I, too, want to get something done, and the question is at what price, and it is a price I am not willing to pay.”
As the Senate moves forward with the legislation it is obvious that the key Senators must walk a fine line in order to obtain enough votes to pass the legislation.