New Yorker story details Senate breakdown on climate bill

The New Yorker published a blockbuster story this weekend detailing the many failures of the White House and the Senate to pass climate change legislation.

The story, by Ryan Lizza, is nearly 10,000 words, but it’s definitely worth a read. It documents, in extensive detail, how the White House and Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and (at least for a time) Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) were often not on the same page as they tried to hash out a climate bill.

For instance, the White House announced a plan in March to open up new areas of the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling. The plan was announced while Kerry, Graham and Lieberman were simultaneously negotiating a plan to open up more drilling in exchange for key industry groups’ support for their climate bill.

But, Lizza reports, the White House made its drilling announcement without consulting the senators, taking away their leverage in negotiations with industry.

But there had been no communication with the senators actually writing the bill, and they felt betrayed. When Graham’s energy staffer learned of the announcement, the night before, he was “apoplectic,” according to a colleague. The group had dispensed with the idea of drilling in ANWR, but it was prepared to open up vast portions of the Gulf and the East Coast. Obama had now given away what the senators were planning to trade.

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