Cap and Trade Delay

Senate Democrats are not pushing the accelerator to the floor on the Cap and Trade/Climate Change bill, acknowledging now that any floor action won't come until the leaves start turning.

The word on Thursday was that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was now looking at a deadline of September 28 for action by Senate committees on climate change, ten days later than the original deadline.

There are two ways to look at that.  On one hand, it gives Democrats extra time to cut some deals and get more votes.  On the other hand, it gives critics more time to raise questions about this bill.

If Democrats were hoping to capitalize on any momentum from House approval of a climate change bill this week, they probably didn't get as much of a boost as they wanted.

Chief sponsor Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will hold two more hearings on climate change next week.

As of now, she has the week of July 27 set aside for her committee to publicly draft a bill, but there were rumblings yesterday that could be delayed until the first week in August.

Again, the big problem here for Democrats is exactly the big problem on health care - there are a number of more centrist Democrats who aren't sold on this bill - and finding ways to get them on board may cost the votes of more liberal Senators.

Meanwhile, the group Move On dot org began running an advertisement against one provision that was part of the House bill, which the group says give those who use coal the chance to keep on polluting.

"The energy bill that passed the House guts a key provision of the Clean Air act," read the Move On ad, which charged that the current Cap and Trade bill will provide a "lifeline for coal."

"More coal means fewer jobs in wind and solar industries, more more pollution, and a worsening climate crisis."

That kind of talk may come as a surprise to Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), who is against the bill because it has too many restrictions on his beloved coal industry.

Just like on health care, it's really Democrats vs Democrats on climate change legislation, making it difficult to get to a 60 vote super majority in the Senate.