Rep. James Walsh of New York, a powerful Republican appropriator, has introduced a House measure similar to the McCain-Lieberman climate control bill opposing Bush administration policy by limiting carbon dioxide emissions.
As one of the "Cardinals" who head House Appropriations subcommittees, Walsh represents a major defection from President Bush's position on global warming. Walsh, chairman of the VA-HUD appropriations subcommittee, was once a major target of Democrats, but his redistricted Syracuse constituency is now considered safe for him.
Republican co-sponsors of the global warming bill include longtime environmental activists: Reps. Sherwood Boehlert and Amo Houghton of New York, Nancy Johnson and Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland. In contrast to them, Walsh's voting record is generally conservative.
GUNNING FOR SPECTER
The conservative Club for Growth has raised $700,000 in hard money and $950,000 in soft money for Rep. Pat Toomey in his Pennsylvania Republican primary challenge against four-term Sen. Arlen Specter.
That is four times more money than the Club for Growth has ever spent on a single candidate. The organization's supporters are distributing a March 16 poll showing Specter's lead down to 10 points. Toomey's backers claim the race would be even closer if Specter were not being strongly supported by Pennsylvania's other senator: Rick Santorum, the conservative chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.
A footnote: Democratic strategists had written off Specter's seat as safely Republican but now say it may be competitive thanks to Toomey's challenge. Rep. Joe Hoeffel, whose voting record is far more liberal than Specter's, is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.