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No one doubted that the climate bill would have a tough time in the Senate--it's a daunting journey to a filibuster-proof 60 votes in favor (even with Al Franken rounding out the Dems' "supermajority"). Especially with one of the major predicted problems--that the climate debate has to share the stage with the (currently much more visible) health care reform one--is indeed one that senators are complaining most about. But I have to admit I've been slightly surprised at how lackluster the effort to forge a climate bill has been in the Senate--especially from the Democratic leadership. Take the latest development, for example: four Senate Dems are now formally calling on their leadership to drop the cap and trade measures from the bill altogether.The cap and trade measures, of course, being the heart of the bill. The senators--unfortunately 4 of the most crucial votes to any climate bill's passage--instead want to pass legislation that simply demands a target for renewable energy. This could spell serious trouble for those hoping for a more comprehensive climate bill like Waxman-Markey.
As Yale 360 explains,
The move by the senators — Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan, both of North Dakota — could pose a major challenge for cap-and-trade legislation that was passed by the House of Representatives in June and is now before the Senate. Referring to the renewable energy and cap-and-trade provisions, Sen. Lincoln told Bloomberg News, "The problem with doing them both together is that it becomes too big of a lift. I see the cap-and-trade being a real problem."Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that this isn't an option, and has vowed to bring climate legislation to a vote without splitting a carbon cap from renewable energy targets.
More on the Climate Bill in the Senate
10 Senate Dems Send Obama Warning Letter about Climate Bill
Could the US Senate Pass the Climate Bill, then Reject a Global Treaty?