Senators, President Will Meet Today To Decide on Cap-and-Trade (For Real This Time?) (Update: Not For Real This Time)

by William Yeatman on June 23, 2010

in Blog, Features

There’s only a month left on the Senate calendar, and elections are looming, so many Senators are wary of an issue as divisive and nuanced as is cap-and-trade energy rationing. As a result, there’s been a lot of procrastinating.

Two weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid convened a meeting of Senate Committee chairs in order to figure out how to proceed with climate legislation. They agreed to punt, by having a meeting of the entire Senate the following week.

A week ago, all Democratic Senators met, and they listened to three of their colleagues pitch variations of climate/energy legislation, as well as a pep talk from Sen. Barbara Boxer (my favorite environmentalist Senator). But the pleas fell on deaf ears, and the DNP Caucus session ended inconclusively.

Following that failure, President Obama requested yet another meeting of Senate energy/climate principles and moderates from both parties. The discussion will take place today, and the guest list includes Sens. John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Richard Lugar, Judd Gregg, Susan Collins, Sherrod Brown and Lisa Murkowski, according to a survey of offices by Energy & Environment Daily.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, and elections are nearing. The punditry seems to be in consensus that the prognosis for cap-and-trade is dire, although there has been some discussion about a sinister back door strategy, by which the Senate would pass bare-bones energy bill, sans an energy tax, and then leadership would insert a cap-and-trade into the bill that is reconciled with the American Energy and Security Act, the climate legislation that the House passed last June. Evidently, proponents of this strategy are banking on the reconciliation conference to take place during the lame duck session after upcoming elections, a time when some Members of Congress would have nothing to lose, because they would have already lost.

**Update: 8:20 A.M. E&E Daily’s lede story this morning reports that President Obama has postponed the climate meeting, due to the ongoing imbroglio over the Afghan general who put his foot in his mouth. Fortunately, there’s not much further down the road the majority can kick this can, before the clock runs out on the legislative calendar.

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