WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top Democrats put the issue of climate change back in the spotlight Tuesday, debating legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions while announcing $3.4 billion in new clean energy funds.
A key congressional committee began hearings on a "cap-and-trade" bill requiring emissions to be cut by more than 80 percent over the next four decades.
Questions relating to global warming have been among the most politically contentious in recent years. Democrats are generally more receptive to proposals designed to curb energy consumption in order to slow climate change; leading Republicans continue to express concern about the necessity and economic impact of such measures.
President Barack Obama has made the push for greater investment in a clean energy agenda one of his top domestic priorities.
Attempting to move that agenda forward, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee kicked off hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Supporters say the bill would reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050 through a cap-and-trade program under which companies would buy and sell emissions credits.