Some senators still reluctant on energy bill

Factory exhaust stacks belch smoke in Latrobe Valley, Australia


Bill Radke: President Obama is looking for a way to win over reluctant senators on energy and climate legislation. He's talking to leaders from both parties who have so far been unable to come up with the 60 votes needed for bills to cut greenhouse gas pollution and push the country away from fossil fuels. Marketplace's John Dimsdale has the story.

John Dimsdale: Senate Energy Committee chairman Jeff Bingaman says there's plenty of agreement on encouraging alternative fuels. But to go further and force businesses to cut pollution, that'll take some arm-twisting by the president.

Jeff Bingaman: I've always had trouble seeing how we got to the 60 votes needed to include some kind of limit and reduction of greenhouse gases as part of a bill.

If the government limits pollution, the price of carbon-based energy will go up, and senators are skittish about that prospect in an economy with nearly 10 percent unemployment. But Trevor Houser's research for the Peterson Institute for International Economics says passing a climate-change bill would help the economy.

Trebor Houser: Right now, you have billions of dollars of investment that's sitting on the sidelines waiting for a clear policy signal from Washington. Unleashing that investment would have a significant stimulative effect in the near term.

Houser says maybe that's a message the president can use to switch some votes.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation