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.
Ms. Stabenow said the Agriculture Committee—which has jurisdiction over climate provisions fundamental to containing costs and cutting emissions in the farming and forestry sectors--might not even debate or vote on any provisions for the bill.
"The question is whether or not Agriculture actually marks up something or it gets done on the floor," she said.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark.), who chairs the Agriculture Committee, is facing a tough re-election campaign next year, and handling a highly controversial climate-change bill in her panel may risk alienating voters.
In the face of the hard-fought debate on health-care legislation--not to mention appropriations bills and finance-reform proposals—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has dropped his earlier schedules for committees. A Reid aide said he hadn't drafted any new timetable for panel action on climate change.
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.
12 November 2009
Is the Senate Climate Bill Hibernating or Dead?
The Wall Street Journal reports some troubling news for supporters of a US cap and trade bill: