Joe LiebermanJoe Lieberman“I’m trying to work with the group in the middle,” says Sen. Joe Lieberman, describing to National Journal his role in brokering a climate agreement.  He’s pushing particularly hard for more support for nuclear power in a climate bill, saying, “I think it’s one of the key bridges that I can help build to bring people across the bridge to support global warming legislation.”

Lieberman says he believes a climate bill will get 60 votes and pass, if not this year, then in the first quarter of 2010.  And he says the bill doesn’t have to be perfect: “[T]he fact is, this is a problem that we’ll be solving for 50 to 100 years. Future congresses will come back and change this based on experience, over and over. So therefore it seems to me that it’s just important to get it started.”

While the public focus is on health care, Lieberman says senators are working on climate change behind the scenes: “There’s a lot happening in the shadows here and so far I would say it’s very constructive and in most cases it’s bipartisan, which is interesting. Certainly our nuclear group is bipartisan. So far the support and opposition to climate change legislation has been much too partisan. I hope we can overcome that with these focused groups.”

Lieberman was one of the earliest congressional supporters of cap-and-trade, cosponsoring the first two pieces of climate legislation to come to the floor of the Senate in 2003 and 2005. 

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