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House Dems reach climate bill agreement

  |   June 24, 2009 at 9:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 24 (UPI) -- U.S. congressional Democrats say they have struck a deal to move forward with a controversial "cap-and-trade" climate change bill.

Prodded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after weeks of negotiations, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., announced Tuesday they had crafted a compromise bill, the Washington publication Politico reported.

Peterson had led a push for greater protections for farmers and rural interests as a leader of conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, who say they fear the measure -- designed to reduce greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050 -- will be portrayed by Republican opponents as a huge tax hike.

Pelosi has scheduled a House floor vote on the measure for Friday, Politico said.

"We have an agreement, and we're moving forward on Friday," Waxman told reporters. "We're going to pass this bill."

Peterson, when asked if he'd support the bill on the floor, said, "yes," citing provisions in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rather than the Environmental Protection Agency, would oversee a planned energy offset program for farmers, Politico said.

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