After months of fits and starts, the climate bill is about to have its day in the sun.
On April 26, Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman will release the bill they've been working on for nearly five months. The bill will then head to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Congressional Budget Office for cost evaluations that could take up to six weeks. Harry Reid will try to squeeze it into a floor debate before the summer recess, but insiders are skeptical that the bill will pass this year.
Marc Ambinder notes that "conventional wisdom holds that no climate change/energy bill can be passed in an election year" but that bipartisan backing from Graham and a widespread desire by businesses to avoid new EPA regulations give this bill a decent shot. "It's worth remembering, too," Ambinder writes, "that many landmark environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Superfund, were passed days ahead of Election Day."
So what will this bill look like? Here's a rundown of its key elements, some more certain than others:
1. Emissions reductions. The bill will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. This goal is identical to the one the House set in its climate bill last year.