US House Speaker Pelosi moving ahead on energy bill

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is determined to move ahead on energy legislation, with or without a conference with the Senate.

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 11 -- US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is determined to move ahead on energy legislation, with or without a conference with the Senate.

"As you know, this is a flagship issue with me, the energy security and global warming bill…. And I stand ready to go to conference in terms of what it does for those two ends, energy security and reversing global warming," she said during an Oct. 11 press conference.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that we will be able to get a conference, but that doesn't mean we won't be going forward…. With or without a conference, we will proceed," Pelosi said.

She did not elaborate, but a congressional source confirmed a Washington Post report that Pelosi met with House committee chairmen on Oct. 10 to discuss holding informal talks with their counterparts in the Senate on reconciling differences in energy bills each body passed earlier this year.

Congressional Democrats used similar informal talks to develop bills dealing with Food and Drug Administration reforms and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the source told OGJ on Oct. 11. The proposed action on energy grew out of House Democrats' frustration with delays by Senate Republicans, the source said.

Pete V. Domenici (R-NM), ranking minority member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Oct. 11 that he was disappointed when he heard about Pelosi's plan, which he termed an "attempt to write a new energy bill through a closed-door process."

The House Democratic leadership is forgoing the normal congressional process for passing legislation by sending the Senate an entirely new bill instead of taking up Senate-passed legislation, he maintained. "This strategic decision…has prevented the Senate from even appointing conferees. As it stands right now, we don't even have a bill that we could conference, which is entirely the fault of House Democrats," Domenici said on Oct. 11.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

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