Is the White House contemplating climate change legislation?


A pair of news stories recently has ignited the rumour mill that the Bush administration is contemplating asking Congress to produce a climate change bill before the end of the year.

Both the Associated Press and The Washington Times reported that the White House was preparing to unveil a set of principals for what they want climate change legislation to look like.

Last week, James Connaughton - chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality - and domestic policy adviser Keith Hennessey came to Capitol Hill to brief some House GOP members on the issue. "The meeting was set up to float a few trial balloons and it did not go well, with some participants viewing it as 'political appeasement' on global warming" - a GOP operative, who was briefed on the meeting, told the Associated Press.

In June, the Senate is expected to debate a bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Warner that would cap greenhouse gas emissions and set specific targets for reductions of emissions. The House is also expected to take up similar legislative sometime this year.

The Bush administration has been hesitant to push for specific climate change legislation in the past - often arguing that countries like India and China must address the issue at the same time in order for the White House to support any major action.

White House Spokeswoman, Dana Perino pushed back against the recent reports during her daily press briefing. "We haven't come forward yet and said definitively where we are - and that's because we're having a very robust discussion" - she said.

However, Perino did acknowledge that there is currently a "regulatory train wreck" and that "the regulatory path that we are on right now is not sustainable" - which could present an opening for legislation.