Muckraker: Grist on Politics

President Barack Obama issued a directive to Congress in his address on Tuesday night, calling for a climate bill and energy measures. Now we’re getting a clearer ideas from Congressional leaders about how they plan to respond.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that he plans to achieve three legislative priorities to meet Obama’s goals: an energy bill, an electricity transmission bill, and later, a climate bill.

Reid discussed his transmission bill, which is likely to be released tomorrow, earlier this week. It will probably come after a forthcoming bill from Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), which is likely to include a renewable electricity standard (RES) and efficiency measures.

As for the climate bill, Reid said he intends to get one passed this year, but didn’t offer a more specific timeline: “As far as getting you a definite time, I can’t do that … Our goal is to get that done this year.”

Over in the House, Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman says he’ll have a climate bill ready by Memorial Day. Various pieces of energy legislation are also floating around the House, like an RES bill Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Todd Platts (R-Pa.) introduced several weeks ago.

And at a hearing on Wednesday morning, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) said he’s planning to introduce a transmission bill in the next few weeks that will be similar to the Rural Clean Energy Superhighways Act from last Congress. An Inslee aide told Grist that like Reid’s bill, Inslee’s will include cost allocation, siting, and smart grid measures.

So nothing’s definite at this point, but at least we have the beginnings of a road map for climate and energy legislation this year.