Democratic News

WEDNESDAY: In conference today, with a compressed schedule due to an early-afternoon meeting of the principals with President Bush, we saw action on two fronts: 1) Sen. Bingaman, on a voice vote, laid down the Senate offer on Research & Development (R&D) provisions. There were no amendments. 2) Following a motion by Sen. Craig, the Senate voice-voted approval to offer the House the hydroelectric provisions (Sec. 301) in the Senate-passed amendment to H.R. 4. (Several Senate Dems were recorded in opposition on the voice vote.) The House has a substantially different position on hydro, so it's not clear how this issue will play out. Chairman Tauzin intends to reconvene the conference at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, 2123 Rayburn. Viewing arrangements are unchanged: via webcast on both Committees' websites, and on the Hill's internally-cabled TVs. The channels change from meeting to meeting, and tonight I don't know what they will be tomorrow, but you should be able to find us if you channel surf. (There was a foul-up today with a pre-emption, but that won't happen twice ... let's hope.) THURSDAY: The Senate will send over its offer on non-CAFE, non-ethanol fuels and vehicles. It's a strong bipartisan product, and we do not anticipate amendments. Expect a voice vote. The House also is expected to send the Senate its offers on ethanol and ANWR. Not sure what the ethanol offer will look like; the ANWR piece will likely be the original language from H.R. 4, so we'll probably have to wait a bit longer to see the widely reported proposal that is going to make drilling the Arctic Refuge acceptable (!?) to Democrats. No additional action is expected Thursday on R&D, hydropower or electricity. We'll probably close those next week. Finally, Chairman Bingaman is pleased that the media avail at the White House worked out for so many of you. Short notice, we regret, but turnout was solid. Meeting with President Bush were Tauzin, Bingaman, Dingell, Murkowski, Baucus, Bill Thomas and Rangel. We're cheered and gratified that the President said he wants an energy bill, soon. Amen!