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3 Democrats join GOP bid to block EPA on warming

March 4, 2011

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WASHINGTON — Three Democrats are joining a Republican effort in the House to block the Environmental Protection Agency from trying to reduce the gases blamed for global warming.

Representatives Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Dan Boren of Oklahoma will sponsor a bill supported by 42 Republican senators and seven House Republicans that would bar the EPA from using federal law to control greenhouse gases from power plants, refineries, and other industrial facilities.

The measure is the latest to be introduced in the Republican-controlled House, where at least a half-dozen bills target the EPA and its efforts to control air and water pollution.

None of the EPA’s actions is as controversial as its rules on global warming, which Republicans and some Democrats say will raise energy costs and cause job losses in an already fragile economy. The Obama administration counters that controlling global warming pollution is necessary based on scientific evidence that it is threatening public health and the environment. The EPA also says the rules will ultimately yield more health and economic benefits than costs, much like many other Clean Air Act regulations.

The bill introduced yesterday in the House and Senate would not bar states from taking action on global warming gases. It would also preserve a deal between the Obama administration and automakers to boost fuel economy and to introduce greenhouse gas standards on tailpipes.

— Associated Press

White House makes pitch in budget-cutting talks WASHINGTON — With only two weeks to cut a deal, the White House proposed more than $6 billion in spending cuts yesterday as part of its opening bid in negotiations with congressional Republicans over how to keep the government operating through Sept. 30 and avoid a shutdown.

White House economic adviser Gene Sperling did not specify where the cuts would be made, but the figure set the stage for fresh talks among Vice President Joe Biden, White House budget officials, and the bipartisan leadership of Congress.

House Republicans want to cut $61 billion from current fiscal year spending. Sperling says the $6 billion would be in addition to the $4 billion already cut in a stop-gap spending measure that expires March 18.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, Brendan Buck, dismissed the White House number as “little more than the status quo.’’

— Associated Press

Gingrich takes first step to launching presidential bid ATLANTA — Former House speaker Newt Gingrich says he is launching a website to explore a run for president.

The Republican said he and his wife are looking at a bid very carefully and will methodically lay out the framework for what they do next.

Gingrich is stopping short of setting up an exploratory committee, which would make him a legal candidate. A spokesman said Gingrich and his wife oversee a web of commercial and nonprofit ventures and must tie up loose ends with those businesses before they can take that step.

— Associated Press

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