Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post 
Sunday, Oct 25th, 2009
Climate legislation took a small step forward late Friday night as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) issued a version that includes big benefits for farmers, provisions for deficit reduction and a ceiling on carbon prices.
The proposal, sponsored by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Boxer, calls for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to a level 20 percent below 2005 emissions, a more ambitious target than the 17 percent set in a climate measure approved by the House in June.
The draft, which resembles the House bill, sets the parameters for what promises to be a sharp debate on one of President Obama’s top legislative priorities.
Like the Waxman-Markey bill adopted by the House, the Kerry-Boxer legislation favors a cap-and-trade system that would issue permits for greenhouse gas emissions, gradually lower the amount of emissions allowed, and let companies buy and sell permits to meet their needs. And like the House bill, the Senate measure would give away the vast majority of allowances for a transition period of 20 years to ease burdens on energy-intensive industries and on consumers in states that rely heavily on coal for electricity.