Lieberman and WarnerIf all goes as planned, the full Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will begin hearings on the Lieberman-Warner America’s Climate Security Act in the next week or two. The bill’s first real hurdle will be making it through that committee.

Right now, there’s little reason to expect that any Republican on the committee other than John Warner (R-Va.) himself will vote for it. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) spoke critically of it at the first subcommittee hearing last week, and Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) took to the podium of the National Press Club two days later to pillory the bill:

Just recently, my friends Joe Lieberman and John Warner introduced yet another iteration of a cap and trade bill. I don’t doubt their sincerity, but I have significant reservations about the bill. I have recently heard the concerns of a variety of constituents, including both industry and labor representatives, who are especially concerned that the bill presents an overly aggressive first phase of emissions reductions that will hit well before we can reasonably expect commercially available technologies to deal with the problem.

Further, in the absence of an effective safety valve, or off ramp, for the price of allowances under the program, there is little certainty that costs can be contained. The bill does not address important policy issues like federal preemption, and it’s unclear whether its international provisions are adequate to ensure the effective participation of China, India and other developing nations.

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With that in mind, let’s begin to keep track of the likely “yea” votes on the committee. So far, that list includes:

  • Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), sponsor
  • John Warner (R-Va.), sponsor
  • Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), cosponsor
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), cosponsor
  • Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
  • Max Baucus (D-Mont.)

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) has called the bill a “good start.” If he votes for it, it will still need three more senators, presumably all Democrats, to move to the next step. Those three votes could come from: Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), or Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with the Dems.

If Sanders or Lautenberg vote no, it will be because the bill hasn’t been strengthened enough. I’ll dig for some updates from Clinton (ha!) and Whitehouse. Stay tuned.

FYI, Republicans on the committee include Alexander, Voinovich, John Barrasso (Wyo.), Kit Bond (Mo.), Larry Craig (Idaho), James Inhofe (Okla.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), and David Vitter (La.).

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