By IAN TALLEY
WASHINGTON — Key Senate Democrats Tuesday said it is unlikely there will be any more major committee action on climate-change legislation this year, the strongest indication yet that a comprehensive bill to cut greenhouse-gas emissions won’t be voted on until at least next year.
Although the Senate Environment Committee last week approved a version of the bill, the proposal will face strong revisions from moderate Democrats, particularly from senators on the Finance and Agriculture committees.
“It’s common understanding that climate-change legislation will not be brought up on the Senate floor and pass the Senate this year,” Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus said on the sidelines of a caucus lunch.
“I wouldn’t want to bet my paycheck that all the relevant committees will report out legislation by the end of this year,” said Sen. Thomas Carper (D., Del.).
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), who is leading an effort by moderate, heartland Democrats to protect manufacturing and agriculture industries, said committees were no longer under any timetables to produce legislation.
Even Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.), a climate-bill champion who last week said committees should have climate legislation processed by the end of the year, Tuesday backed off such expectations. “I don’t want to create artificial deadlines which get in the way of our being methodical about this,” he said.
Instead, Mr. Kerry said he is focused on getting the 60 votes necessary to pass controversial climate legislation — a higher margin than a simple majority and no mean feat. “The main thing to do here is to build the adequate base of support and consensus,” he said.
h/t to Dr. Benny Peiser