Breaking: Senate postpones cap-and-trade

The Washington Post reports that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold off on consideration of the House cap-and-trade bill until September at the earliest:

President Barack Obama’s push for quick action by Congress on climate change legislation suffered a setback on Thursday when the U.S. Senate committee leading the drive delayed work on the bill until September.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer said her self-imposed deadline of early August for finishing writing a bill to combat global warming has been put off until after Congress returns from a recess that ends in early September.

“We’ll do it as soon as we get back” from that break, Boxer told reporters. Asked if this delay jeopardizes chances the Senate will pass a bill this year, Boxer said, “Not a bit … we’ll be in (session) until Christmas, so I’m not worried about it.”

But Boxer did not guarantee Congress will be able to finish a bill and deliver it to Obama by December, when he plans to attend an international summit on climate change in Copenhagen.

Two weeks ago, when the House barely pushed this through a vote, Barack Obama’s poll numbers still looked good enough to imply that there may not be consequences for hobbling the economy with ludicrous taxes, fees, and penalties for energy production.  With his poll numbers eroding quickly and the electorate losing patience with high unemployment and Porkulus’ failure, that doesn’t seem like a safe bet any more.  As the economy continues to drag, cap-and-trade will look more like a disaster than the mythical one it purports to avoid.

The Democrats simply don’t have the votes now on cap-and-trade, and unless the economy suddenly lurches back to life, the political situation will be worse in September.  That doesn’t mean we can let up on the pressure, as Michelle says.  Keep calling your Senators to tell them that a vote for cap-and-trade means adding to the unemployment lines — starting with themselves.

Update: This might have had something to do with it, too:

“I cannot support the House bill in its present form,” Byrd said in a statement. “I continue to believe that clean coal can be a ‘green’ energy. Those of us who understand coal’s great potential in our quest for energy independence must continue to work diligently in shaping a climate bill that will ensure access to affordable energy for West Virginians.” …

Senator Byrd’s was one of the two sponsors of the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which the senate unanimously passed, 95–0, in 1997. Byrd-Hagel stated the sense of the Senate that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing nations as well as industrialized nations or “would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States.” Byrd-Hagel prevented Clinton from even trying to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which like the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” climate change legislation, would have put the U.S. economy at an economic disadvantage to China and India.

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