Harry Reid: Heath Care and Banking Reform Comes Before Climate


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When the House narrowly passed the ACES bill last summer, many expressed hope that the U.S. Congress would finally take strong action on climate change and energy security. The hope was that a bill would be passed before world leaders gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a global climate pact. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) today threw a wet blanket on that hope after he said that the Senate may not vote on energy and climate change legislation until next year, citing the chamber's busy fall schedule.Reid told reporters that the Senate must first finish work on health insurance reform and financial regulation reform: "So, you know, we are going to have a busy, busy time the rest of this year," Reid said. "And, of course, nothing terminates at the end of this year. We still have next year to complete things if we have to."

Reid was also asked about rumors that the Democrats would separate the climate and energy parts of the bill instead of going after both in one massive push, but he resisted: "That was an initial discussion that we had many, many months ago," Reid said. "We've focused on what the House has done, and that is do it all in one package. But we have -- that's a bridge that's still a long ways away."

If the Senate fails to act, President Obama will have a harder time in Copenhagen negotiating the U.S.'s position. But he retains the ability to go around Congress and use the EPA to regulate greenhouse emissions. Grist's David Roberts has a great rundown today about just how he can do this.

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